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Williamsport teen sets sights on covert operations

December 31, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

WILLIAMSPORT - Patrick Hammond is only 17, but his activities and accolades fill a three-page résumé.

The Williamsport High School senior plays varsity sports, is president of the student government and serves as a cadet major in the Hagerstown Civil Air Patrol Squadron.

Not surprisingly, the Williamsport senior class named Hammond "Mr. WHS" this year.

Hammond hopes his training and academic accomplishments land him a spot in a U.S. military academy because he wants to perform covert operations as an Army Ranger, he said.

Hammond joined the Civil Air Patrol about four years ago because it offered an abundance of training opportunities and military discipline, he said.

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Since joining the patrol, Hammond has helped with a search-and-rescue mission for downed aircraft in Pennsylvania, been part of the Honor Guard at military funerals and marched in numerous parades.

Serving at funerals is his favorite part of the volunteer position.

"It's the most fulfilling thing you can do," he said. "You feel like you did something right."

U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., recently nominated Hammond to West Point.

Hammond visited the academy and said he liked the military atmosphere.

Though the Civil Air Patrol is an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, Hammond would rather join the Army because flying isn't his first choice. He would rather be on the ground as an Army Ranger, he said.

"I don't know of any other adrenaline rush that could be greater than that," Hammond said of performing Ranger missions deep behind enemy lines.

He wants to serve his country because of all it's done for him, "my freedom and everything," Hammond said.

The attention to detail and expectation that Army officers will exceed standards appeals to him, Hammond said.

Sandra Hammond doesn't worry that her son might one day work in war zones. He's been working toward a military career for more than four years, she said.

"He will receive the best training to do what he needs to do to lead troops," she said.

Hammond listed the Air Force Academy as his second choice of the military academies, he said.

By February, he should know whether he was accepted.

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