4 Tyler Students Accept Military Academy Appointments - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/14/06-Tyler

4 Tyler Students Accept Military Academy Appointments

Meet the future cadets.

Headed to West Point are 18 year old Dane Ritcheson, a graduate of Grace Cmmunity High School, hoping to go into the special forces. 18 year old Jeremy May is also from Grace Community High School. He wants to study encryption.  19 year old Brad Harris is a T.K. Gorman graduate who says he'll follow in his fathers footsteps and go into medicine. 

19 year old Austin Cordenas is going to the Air Force Academy. He was a 2005 Gorman graduate who spent the last year at the academy's prep school. He wants to be a pilot.

Getting into a military school is something they've all had their sights on for a long time. For them, it's a dream come true.

"I applied also to A & M and SLU, because I thought they'd give me good scholarships, but West Point was always number one," said Harris.

"Since as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to go into the military somewhere, just something I feel like I've got to do," said Ritcheson.

Three of them will be going through school together, and they say that makes it a little less unnerving.

"It makes it a lot easier I think, because having Dane and Brad there, it will be like, we're all going to be 'Pleabs', we're all going to have to go through the same stuff," said May.

It's not the intense physical conditioning or high academic standards that makes them nervous. It's the transition from civilian life to military life.

"Just having to be yelled at and having to be perfect and if you're not perfect than you get yelled at and disciplined," said May.

During prep school, Cordenas got a taste of some of that yelling and discipline.

He said, "The first day, they don't take it easy on you. The first day will be bad. Once you cross that line, it's over.  You're their's now."

Once they make it through the four, tough years , they'll graduate as 2nd Lieutenants, and be in the company of other distinguished alumni like MacArthur, Patton, and Eisenhower.

There is no cost to attend a military academy, but the education is certainly not free. It's valued at 350 thousand dollars. That's why students are obligated to serve in the military for five  years after graduating.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com

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