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North High graduate enters Naval Academy

July 02, 2002|by CAILIN MCGOUGH

Lane Drummond hadn't planned on going to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. In fact, in high school he hadn't planned on joining the Navy at all.

"I took the ASVAB to get out of taking an English test," Drummond, 19, of Hagers-town, said of the armed services aptitude test.

His scores - 94 out of 99 - were enough to make recruiters eager to have him join.

"The day they got the scores there were like 30 messages on my machine," Drummond said.

Although he was somewhat interested in the Navy, Drummond said he met with recruiters mainly so they would stop calling. Told he could basically do anything he wanted, Drummond said he weighed his options before deciding to enlist in the nuclear power program.


Likewise, when he applied to the Naval Academy last fall, he wasn't really expecting anything, he said.

"I said I'll give it a go," he said. "I stayed up late for a week filling out the application and sent it in."

About 90 percent of those accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy are high school seniors, many of whom are at the top of their classes, Drummond said.

The remaining 10 percent are nominated by the Secretary of the Navy, who draws from applicants in the Navy's ranks.

At the time, Drummond had completed boot camp and gone on to school in Charleston, S.C., learning what he called the "monkey stuff" of his job as a machinist mate.

After working for 14 weeks in an engine room, Drummond graduated first in his class.

He stayed in Charleston another six months for nuclear power school, and on Nov. 30, 2001, finished 36th out of about 340 students.

Six days later, Drummond received his acceptance to the Naval Academy.

Before he would begin at the academy, Drummond completed his training in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

He spent six months in the nuclear prototype training unit, studying systems and procedures while gaining hands-on experience applying the skills he learned.

"It's basically a submarine in a parking lot," he said of the unit. "It's the real deal."

Drummond attributes his success to the structure and discipline in the military.

"In high school I never studied, never brought my book bag home, never opened my locker. I just managed to get A's on tests. But you can't do that here," he said.

A 2000 graduate of North Hagerstown High School, Drummond was involved in soccer, indoor track and wrestling. An Eagle Scout and member of the Student Government Association his senior year, Drummond said he was a B student and spent a lot of time goofing off.

Now, he said, he expects more from himself.

"I expect it will be very challenging, very physically demanding. But it's nothing I can't do," he said.

Drummond, who left for Annapolis last week, will spend four years at the academy, where he said he is leaning toward a degree in mechanical engineering. He would graduate as a commissioned officer, and will be able to choose his job according to his class rank.

After graduation, he is obligated to six years of service in the Navy, during which time he hopes to fly.

"That's the only thing I've ever wanted to do," he said. "... If I become a pilot, I'll be in until they kick me out."

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