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Smithsburg grad looks to sky as he heads to Naval Academy

June 22, 2007|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

SMITHSBURG - Jeremy Harbaugh has made up his mind.

"I want to become a Naval pilot," he said.

On Wednesday, his odyssey begins. Harbaugh, a 2007 Smithsburg High School graduate, and other class of 2011 plebes - or freshmen - will be inducted into the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Jeremy, the son of Steve and Carmen Harbaugh, said he knows what to expect - a rigid, disciplined life - and he's eager for it.

"It's something I've always wanted," he said. "I think it fits my character well."

The Naval Academy says a typical weekday begins at 6:30 a.m., the deadline for midshipmen to be out of bed. (A 5:30 a.m. fitness workout is optional.)

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Plebes have a special instruction period at 6:30 a.m. The rest of the day includes a morning formation, breakfast, almost four hours of classes, a noon formation, lunch, company training, two more hours of classes, athletics or other activities, and supper. Then, they study.

For plebes, lights must be out by 11 p.m.

"It's pretty much everything set," Jeremy said. "You have a schedule to follow."

"It makes the kids get into time management," his father said.

Jeremy, who said he already is good in that area, wrestled and played football and lacrosse in high school.

He said he was in the top 5 percent of his class academically. As a senior, he took Advanced Placement calculus and physics.

"Math and science have always been my strong suits," Harbaugh said.

Athletically, his peak as a senior was placing in March at the state wrestling tournament in College Park, Md. Harbaugh finished sixth at 189 pounds, capping a 31-6 season.

"He's one of those kinds of kids, you wish you had 10 of them instead of one," said Joe Dietrich, his wrestling and lacrosse coach. "Always (saying) 'yes, sir; no, sir.'"

Asked to pick his best sport, Harbaugh said, "I did the best in wrestling, (but) I consider myself equal in all three."

He plans to try out for the Naval Academy's team in the Collegiate Sprint Football League, in which players must weigh no more than 172 pounds.

Jeremy, a linebacker and fullback, was ready to play football for Smithsburg this past season. However, he was in a vehicle accident the day before school started.

Jeremy said he was riding his motorcycle on Leitersburg Smithsburg Road when a farm tractor pulled out in front of him. He jumped off his motorcycle as it struck the tractor. His right ankle was broken.

On May 15, Jeremy was in another accident, which also wasn't his fault, according to a police report.

While driving on Md. 64 in a 2004 Mazda, Jeremy noticed that a pickup truck turning from Itnyre Road wasn't stopping at a stop sign, according to the report. Jeremy quickly slowed down, according to the report, but the truck struck his car head-on.

The other driver was charged with driving while under the influence.

Other than a slight burn from his car's air bag, Jeremy said he was uninjured.

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