Charting his course: ORCA student reflects on Naval summer session

September, 2018 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, Community, School

Above, ORCA student Garett Kincaid, at the US Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis. Right: Kincaid (center) with his squad in a training exercise. Submitted Photos

By Mary Owen

An Oregon Connections Academy student from Lyons spent the first part of his summer at a seminar at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Garett Kincaid, a junior at the state’s virtual public charter school, was accepted to attend the Naval Academy Summer Session, one of approximately 2,500 applicants selected out of more than 8,000 who submitted applications.

“When I received the e-mail from the U.S. Naval Academy regarding the fact that my application had been accepted, I was absolutely speechless,” said the 17-year-old.

Kincaid is the student body vice-president at ORCA, and is the First in Command and co-founder of his school’s Military Career Information Club. His other accolades includes being named ORCA Student of the Year by the North Santiam Chamber of Commerce, volunteering at Horses of Hope equine therapy program  by assisting clients with physical and intellectual disabilities, and being very “outdoorsy” by hunting, hiking  and fishing.

“I have a very long family history in the military,” Kincaid said. “Going back as far as 15th-century Scotland, my family has fought for what they believed in and to defend their country, and I hope to do the same. Also, I have always had a respect for the military, and as a former member of the Young Marines youth organization, I decided that the military was where I felt called to be.”

ORCA’s outreach manager, Laura Dillon, said Kincaid’s family tree extends into several branches of the military.

“His great-grandfather was a pilot, and his grandfather served in the Air Force as a military police officer during WWII,” Dillon said. “An uncle served in the Navy, and another uncle is currently a colonel in the US Marine Corps (USMC). Two of Garrett’s cousins are also servicemen in the USMC. A third cousin, presently a midshipman attending the USNA, had a particular impact on Garrett and his interest in the Navy.”

Kincaid plans to explore career options in nuclear engineering, cyber warfare, intelligence, medical and Surface
Warfare Officers.

“After speaking with my cousin about the academy, I started doing some of my own research,” Kincaid said. “I wanted to see what the USNA has to offer, and if I have what it takes. Seminar candidates are put through nearly the exact same training that the midshipmen go through for a week. There’s the obvious amount of physical training during these days, as well as several education modules that are similar to USNA classes.”

Kincaid participated in such activities as aerospace flight testing, meteorology, seamanship and navigation, microcomputer design, oceanography, naval architecture, martial arts, yard patrol craft cruise, and ethics and character development. He returned home with an eye toward a military career.

“The summer seminar was an incredible yet tiring experience,” he said. “I felt that I got a lot out of this encounter. There were a lot of challenges, but there was so much that strengthened my resolve to apply to the Naval Academy.”

Kincaid credited his squad, Echo Company, Platoon 2, Squad 3 for motivating him through “plenty of tough times in PT and other events at NASS.”

The experience gave him an in-depth look and better understanding of the various Navy careers, he said.

“The YP Craft Cruise started giving me ideas about surface warfare,” Kinkaid said. “The Introduction to Martial Arts demonstrated the fighting skill needed by members of the military to fight and win wars, while the ship-handling simulation showed me an even deeper understanding of surface warfare.

“My ships and ocean structures course gave me a good picture of Naval engineering, and the damage control workshop offered a view of yet another side of the Navy – everyone on board is trained to stop damage on a naval vessel,” he added.

“Lastly, the aeronautical engineering class also presented a career that interests me, letting me explore further into the wide field that is the United States Navy.”

Kincaid said his dream goal is to attend the U.S. Naval Academy following graduation.

“However, this is a very prestigious military academy, and very competitive,” he said. “Therefore, I have set up contingency plans should the USNA not work out. Throughout the United States, colleges have ROTC – Reserve Officer Training Corps – programs for the various branches of the military. NROTCs – Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps – would be my second choice, but even that could go south. If either of those two options doesn’t work out, I will simply enlist in the Navy. Either way, the Navy is where I see my future taking place.”

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