PCHS grads to serve country
During the summer when most high school seniors celebrate the end of one school and the beginning of another, twelve 2010 Park City High School graduates are preparing for the beginning of a very different path.
These students have chosen to pursue careers in the military instead of attending a traditional four-year institution.
Eight local alumni are enlisting in four of the five branches of the U.S. military, including the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps and will soon or are have already begun their military service.
Four students have been accepted to three of the nation’s top military academies, the United States Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy.
One mother highlighted the risk and pride shared by the families, and the community.
In service to our country, these local alumni will go on to serve around the world.
West Point bound
A history major enrolled at West Point, Gabriel Campbell said the decision to join the Academy was a difficult one.
"In terms of college research, I knew I wanted a small college," Campbell said. "I decided that because of the opportunities, I really wanted to go to the Military Academy."
During his four years at West Point, Campbell will study 26 core courses as well as physical and military programs and work toward his degree in history. Upon graduation, all West Point cadets are commissioned as second lieutenants in the US Army.
At graduation, Campbell wants to join the deployable infantry division of the army.
"My mom’s obviously a little nervous," he said.
Campbell left June 27 for six weeks of basic training before the start of the academic year.
To the rescue
A friend and former teammate of Campbell, Phillip Whiting enlisted in the Air Force earlier this year, and plans to become a pararescueman.
A special operations division of the Air Force, pararescuemen parachute into hostile areas to aid survivors with emergency medical treatment and support for escape and evasion.
Whiting said this division is the perfect fit for him.
"I want to get out there and just do it," Whiting said.
To join the pararescue unit, Whiting has to complete basic training, parachuting and scuba diving schools, as well as paramedic training.
Whiting’s mom, Vicki, said it was difficult to understand her son’s choice, but she realized what an enormous service he is doing for the country.
"He knew this was right for him and had done so much research to see where he would fit best," Vicki Whiting said. "It’s perfect for him."
Whiting leaves July 27 for basic training before moving on to more advanced schooling and preparations.
A humbling decision
A future U.S. Navy enlistee, Madsen hopes to become a Navy Seal.
He has been drawn to the military since a he was a child, he said, recalling old military stories from grandfathers who both served in the armed forces.
Madsen’s mom, Marie, said she knew when her son was young that she would support her son’s decision.
"I realized I needed to take it seriously, because early, early on he liked the idea of the military and it never went away," Marie Madsen said.
Though Madsen does plan on enlisting in the Navy, he is an active member of the Mormon faith and decided to go on a mission before joining the Navy.
"I figured I could better serve if I had already humbled myself," Madsen said. "If you can humble yourself for a religion, you can definitely humble yourself for your country."
The decision to attend a mission first was a difficult one, but one Madsen believes it will certainly work out for the best and still allows him to try out for the Seals.
Madsen will enlist in the Navy at the end of his two-year mission.
As two best friends, Michael Fischer and Tyler Arnold made the decision to join the Marine Corps last December, an idea the two have had since the end of their junior year of high school.
Arnold said that he wanted to join the Marines because of the prestige that goes along with the Corps, and that he feels offers him the best opportunities.
Though Fischer was sworn in as a member of the Marine Corps last December, he chose a delayed enlistment in order to finish high school. As part of the delayed entry, Fischer participates in camps once a month that serve as introductions to life at boot camp and a place for future Marines to meet one another.
Fischer’s dad, Scott, said his son’s decision to join the Marines caught him off guard.
"He wanted some direction and discipline when he was done with school," Scott Fischer said. "We’ve gotten to see him grow up."
Both Arnold and Fischer want to join the infantry division of the Marines, and they plan to leave for a 13-week boot camp in August.
Prepping for the Academy
After committing to play soccer at the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School, Mara Rabin will continue playing once at the Air Force Academy.
A one-year school, Air Force Academy Prep introduces students to what life is like at the Air Force Academy, including academic, military and athletic preparation for success at the four-year academy.
Rabin is on scholarship to play soccer at the school and plans on enrolling in medical school once at the Air Force Academy.
The Air Force Academy is a good fit, Rabin said, and playing soccer is a big part of the decision to attend.
"I liked the Academy for what it had to offer me," Rabin said. "It’s the best path for me."
Rabin leaves July 13 for basic training and the start of the prep school program.
A Naval career kicks off
Dillon Chynoweth says football drove his decision to attend a military academy.
Offered football scholarships by the Navy, Army and Air Force academies, Chynoweth said that choosing which to attend was very tough, but the Naval Academy coaching staff made the difference.
Chynoweth said that joining the military was not in his plans, but playing football was.
"The idea of the military was intimidating at first," Chynoweth said.
Though still undecided, Chynoweth said his career and academic options at the Naval Academy seem endless, and with lots of interests, he said he plans on waiting to make a decision.
Chynoweth left Wednesday for one month of basic training followed by one month of football camp before the start of the academic year.
Classmates Nico Gallegos and Sam Doust have enlisted in the Army, and Nick Miller and George Jiminez have both enlisted in the Marine Corps. Carson Fugal, who is enrolled at the Air Force Academy, left last week for basic training before the beginning of the school year.
East Side students to serve as well
Two students from South Summit High School will join the military. Caleb Cox enlisted in the Air Force and Jonson Crandall will wrestle at the Air Force Academy.
North Summit graduate Paul Schulte will attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and classmate Sheridan Vernon will participate in the ROTC program at the University of Utah.
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Gov. Cox announced that the state’s mask mandate in schools would end for the last week of classes. Park City School District officials strongly recommended that students continue to wear masks. South Summit officials anticipated they would not require masks for the final week.