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St. James School graduate heading for West Point

June 07, 1999

Jason NewbyBy BRUCE HAMILTON / Staff Writer




With high school behind him, Jason Newby soon will be going through the "beast barracks."

The 18-year-old St. James School graduate reports to the United States Military Academy at West Point June 28 to begin cadet basic training, a rigorous schedule of daily exercises.

Applying to the academy is a competitive process. Requirements involve grades, test scores, strength, endurance and agility. A candidate must pass a medical exam and physical aptitude test.

Founded in 1802, West Point accepts about 1,200 cadets each year. Graduates receive bachelor of science degrees and commissions in the Army and serve on active duty for a minimum of five years.

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Each applicant must be nominated by a member of Congress or the Department of the Army. U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., nominated Newby, whose family has a history of military service.

His grandfather, retired Army colonel John Milani, served in Korea and Vietnam. His father, Dr. John G. Newby, is a Hagerstown pathologist who served as a Navy captain.

His mother, Mary Newby, was an Army major. Five of her six siblings also served in the Army. But there was no family pressure to apply, according to Jason.

"It was all my choice," he said.

He grew up watching Army-Navy football games, but the Persian Gulf War brought a different kind of conflict to the television screen.

Not yet a teenager at the time, Jason said his first glimpse of war changed his awareness of the world. He later developed an interest in history, specifically World War II.

When he was a freshman, he toured the Allies' "path of victory" from Normandy, France to Berlin, Germany with his father. He wrote a paper on D-Day that became the first of many historical essays.

Jason said he wants to have a career in the Army and teach history afterward.

At St. James, he maintained a 3.3 grade point average. He worked on the yearbook and helped with the school's historical society. He served as a chapel usher and a prefect, akin to a student government officer.

Newby said he played varsity soccer and used to play in a traveling soccer team, the Hagerstown Heat. He also enjoyed baseball and wrestling.

Last June, he spent a week at the academy, which is 50 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River. The Invitational Campus Workshop acquaints would-be cadets with the academy way of life.

Newby said he rose at 5 a.m. each day, did some physical training and marched everywhere on campus. The physical rigors of military life don't bother him. "I like to work out and stay in shape," he said.

Newby said he has been training with a friend from school, Eliot Sanders, who is attending the Air Force Academy.

He leaves today for Ocean City, where he will enjoy one of his last weeks of civilian life.

"It's one last relaxation," he said.

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