Son of 3rd CAB Soldier headed to West Point
February 11, 2010
<b> HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. </b> - Brian Calkins, a former JROTC student at Richmond Hill High School, is thankful that his parents taught him how to set goals and reach them. Recently, that skill, along with a 3.7 GPA, helped the high school senior reach the goal of a lifetime - acceptance to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Calkins received his acceptance letter in January after a nomination from Congressman Jack Kingston, the Georgia representative from the First Congressional District. He was chosen as the principal nominee, along with 16 others, ages 17 to 23, all from counties in Georgia's First Congressional District. The 17 students will begin their military careers at various academies, including the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy.
The students were interviewed by Kingston and the Military Academy Board, Dec. 4.
"This year's students are an outstanding group of young people," Kingston said. "They should be commended for their dedication. It takes a tremendous amount of hard work to achieve their level of success."
"It's his dream," said Beth Calkins, Brian's mom and a nurse at Brittin Elementary School. "I'm extremely proud." Beth said that she and husband, Chief Warrant Officer Marty Calkins, an Apache pilot with Headquarters and Headquarters Command, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, have tried to give their three children the abilities and opportunities to do whatever they want. Brian's brother, 18-year-old Justin, was recently accepted into the engineering program at the University of Alaska and his 20-year-old sister Nicole is a student at Armstrong Atlantic State University.
"I never thought this would be so much work," said Brian Calkins, 17, the youngest of the three children who has dreamed of an Army career throughout his life.
He was required to write nine essays for the congressional evaluation alone. Also required were three letters of recommendation from teachers, a counselor evaluation, a physical training test, and a physical examination. Students were also interviewed by a 12-member panel that looked at their leadership potential, as well as their mental, moral and physical fitness. During his interview, Brian admitted that life as a military kid was sometimes tough but was quick to add that regardless of the unique challenges, it's a life he wants to provide his own Family one day.
"It's made me stronger," he said, after mentioning his father's seven deployments during the last 14 years. "There've been great opportunities and benefits. I've seen the Eiffel Tower in Paris; I've seen some cool concerts in Germany, and I spoke German at age 12."
Calkins said his primary role model and motivation for a military career is his father. However, his mom has been a constant positive influence and the day-to-day task master in his life.
"I want to be the type (of) person my Dad is," said Calkins, boasting about his father's work ethic and competitive spirit. "And my mom- she's the toughest mom I know."
His brother Justin voiced his agreement as he sat at a computer in the adjacent room. As the boys laughed and talked lovingly about their mom, Beth Calkins - the nurse, the mom, and the constant voice of encouragement- sat quietly beside Brian and smiled.