Careers in the military focus of Hedgesville High School academy day

October 22, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

HEDGESVILLE, W.VA. - Despite some of the ill feelings over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, dozens of high school students and family members showed up at Hedgesville High School Sunday to learn about careers in the military.

The day was set aside to allow students to learn about U.S. service academies, which offer undergraduate training of commissioned officers for the country's armed forces.

The academies are a popular way to receive a paid education and with the educational programs offering about $250,000 worth of college training, students are "eager to take it," said Ray Shipley, a retired Navy reservist who was helping students learn more the U.S. Naval Academy.

Students pick what kind of career they want, then try for entrance into an academy, Shipley said.

If a student wants to fly high-performance jets, for example, that student could study at the U.S. Naval Academy or the U.S. Air Force Academy, Shipley said.


Members of Congress can nominate students to academies, and U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., sponsored the West Virginia Academy Day at Hedgesville High Sunday so local students could learn about the process.

About 40 students, parents and others attended Sunday's event, which organizers considered a good turnout.

Jordan Smith, a senior at Hedgesville High School, was interested in the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Smith said he became interested in the merchant ship operation after seeing his brother-in-law work in an engineering job in the Merchant Marine.

Brian West and his son, Caleb, drove from Edinburg, Va., to attend the academy day.

"I think it would be cool to be an officer," said 14-year-old Caleb West, who was interested in attending West Point.

"My dad went to West Point," Caleb West said.

Brian West said he spent four years on active duty in the infantry.

When asked if his service might have influenced his son's interest in the military, West said, "I guess. I'm not pushing him on it at all."

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