The Academies Train Leaders

Rebecca with her father, Curtis Peasley. Naval Service is a family tradition.

Rebecca Peasley spent the summer following her graduation being yelled at, sweating, working out and learning what being a “Middie” is all about.

Peasley earned an appointment to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD. This rare hon- or meant the hardest summer of her life would be followed by a world class Ivy League education meant to turn Peasley into a Naval leader.

Rather than being overwhelmed by the heavy duty challenges, Peasley seems to have embraced  the  burden  AND  she  has  decided to  enroll  in  nearly  every  other  activity  she can.

“As always, I want to be involved in as many things as possible so I went a little crazy signing up for things. I am a member of MAG (Midshipmen Action  Group),  a Filipino-American club, Varsity Track, and am trying out for IST (Infantry Skills Team).”

Peasley savors the tradi- tions and the activities that recall the sacrifices of  others. “I’ve already gotten to do some in- credible things…On 9/11, mid- shipmen  run the American flag around the yard from sunrise to sunset, and I get to be a runner for a while!”

She also chose to “climb the same steps as the first responders”  in another homage.

Peasley also was able to participate in the Academy funeral of Senator John McCain. She stood next to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

“I couldn’t help myself, so I looked at him and we made eye contact! It was terrifying and awesome at the same time,” said Peasley.

But more than peak experiences, Peasley is facing tough classes, military discipline and the 24/7 demands of the Academy. Yet she reports that she loves it.

What does Peasley aim for at the Academy? She hopes to “develop morally, mentally, and physically. I love that the Academy wants to create well rounded midshipmen and prepare us for the fleet as best as possible.”

“I really want to service select EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal).”

Peasley is interested in Marine Aviation and being a Surface Warfare Officer.

“As  a  plebe,  I  learn the most about leadership through being a follower… We have several military obligations on a daily basis such as protocol briefs, drill, professional knowledge tests, morning  workouts,  noon meal trainings, and formations.  There  are  40  plebes in my company, so knowing where everyone is at all times can get extremely stressful. It is a great experience though and I believe it helps you prioritize, time manage, and keep a sense of humor.”


The yelling started and did not stop until the end of Basic Training some six weeks later.”

Kyler Martin knew it would be tough. And the toughness started right away as the Air Force Academy barked at the cadets to become better soldiers by being grilled on Core Values. Being dressed down was the first step to building up an elite corps of Airmen and women taught to lead at the Academy.

Martin was eager to share his favorite experiences in flight as he trains on a glider. He wrote of practicing a stall which he described as a “ terrible feeling. Knowing that you are falling out of the sky like a rock and you have no idea how to fix it. Luckily the maneuver was planned and the instructor quickly pulled us out of the fall and we continued our way to the ground.”

Later Martin got to take off, pilot, and land the glider on his second time in the air. But to impress the reality of flying the instructor took control and “we performed a 1 Gravity dive and pulled out of it with a 5 Gravity turn. That means I  felt   one times the force of gravity and five times the force of gravity on my second flight in a glider.”

Martin noted that academics, particularly math are taught differently. “Math is graded on your work, not on the answer, meaning that if you get the answer right you may not get any credit if you don’t show enough communication on how you got that answer. You may also get full credit for the wrong answer if you solved the problem in a correct manner. History classes are based on military events and specific details of their happening.”

Martin has had to learn to accept failure as part of learning and leadership. “They make you fail here in order to make sure you will get back up and keep trying. If you get back up you gain a little respect and become stronger for it, but if you try to stay down the people around you will push you out and you won’t ever succeed at the Academy.”