WASHINGTON - Army Reserve 2nd Lt. Alec Scott felt a higher calling at a young age that led him not only down a military path, but down a religious one as well.

Scott is studying to be a Catholic priest at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., while also preparing for a career as an Army chaplain.

"I started considering the priesthood in high school," he said. "The more I considered it, the more I was convinced it was where I was being called to serve."

Scott said he also felt a strong draw toward the Army, a result of his family's deep military roots. His father, retired Maj. Gen. Bruce Scott, and grandfathers served in the Army, and his five siblings all followed in their father's military footsteps. Four are serving in the Army and one is in the Air Force.

"The military was a tremendously prominent and formative force in my life since I was a young child," Scott said. "It was really the only lifestyle we ever knew as a family."

Growing up in the military Catholic community, Scott said, he recognized a "desperate need" for chaplains.

"When I first started considering the priesthood, the needs of military Catholics impressed in me a desire to help them as best I could," he said.

Set on his path, Scott applied to study for the priesthood during his senior year at the College of the Holy Cross, which he attended through an Army ROTC scholarship. He was accepted, and after graduation, he applied for an educational delay in military service so he could study at Mount St. Mary's for the Archdiocese of Washington and the Archdiocese for the Military Services. He also is assigned to the Army's Individual Ready Reserve.

"I love everything about the seminary right now, and I do like that the Army has really allowed me to focus on my studies rather than forcing me to live a dual existence, trying to satisfy two different areas of formation," he said.

When stressed with school demands, Scott said, he's thankful that he's not far from his parents' home in Lorton, Va. His military siblings, however, are scattered throughout the world, making it more difficult to have a family get-together.

"During the constant stream of deployments, the time spent with siblings has certainly experienced a decrease," he said. "We were all very close growing up, however, so all the time we spend together is valuable for us."

Regardless, Scott said, he's grateful for his family's close ties to the military.

"It would have been difficult to grow up in the environment and around the people that we did and not feel closely identified with the military," he said. "With it comes a great respect for the Army and a general appreciation for service. The immediacy of the military growing up left an indelible mark on me."