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Wyatt Galloway heading to Naval Academy
Beth and Wyatt Galloway. (Duane Ford | The Covington News)

COVINGTON, Ga. - Wyatt Galloway’s dream of attending the U.S. Naval Academy and then entering the Marine Corps started in fifth grade. Years later, the first part of that dream is coming true.

On March 15 Congressman Jody Hice informed Galloway that he had been accepted. About a week later Galloway received a confirming letter from the Naval Academy. He will report for Induction Day June 29, participate in “Plebe Summer,” a military training program and then start classes this fall.

Galloway plans to major in mechanical engineering. His ideal military job would be as a combat engineer in the Marine Corps. Graduates must serve for at least four years; Galloway currently plans to serve a career.

Galloway’s parents are Beth and Brent Galloway. When asked about her thoughts, Beth said “It’s one of those things we have worked for so long, when it finally happened we were excited, shocked, and sad all at the same time. It’s bittersweet. You know he will be gone pretty soon.”

The Galloway family operates a cattle, hay and grain farm in Newton County. In addition, Beth is a teacher and FFA advisor at Piedmont Academy in Monticello and Brent is the livestock advisor for the Georgia Department of Corrections’ prison farms.

“In fifth grade, we had this little career project,” said Galloway. “We had to find the school we would go to and our major. That’s when I found the Naval Academy and I got to interview my uncle who is a retired Navy captain. He told me about it and what I could do through that.”

The Galloway family has included a few people who served in the military. Besides his uncle, Galloway’s maternal grandfather is retired from the Army and on his father’s side he has a first cousin twice-removed in the Air Force and MIA in Vietnam.

When asked why he picked the Naval Academy over other military colleges, Galloway said, “The Marines is the reason. The Naval Academy is just my way of getting there.”

Students at the Naval Academy compete for post-graduation military jobs starting in their junior year. Only 25 percent of each graduating class enters the Marine Corps.

About his interest in the Marines he added, “I like the idea of being able to go everywhere around the world. Be the first one there; the first one to respond to a situation whether it is a military or humanitarian mission.”

The application process began nearly a year ago at the end of Galloway’s junior year in high school. His first step was the submission of an application for the U.S. Naval Academy. That was followed by an interview with a “blue and gold officer,” someone who had once attended the Academy and served in the Navy or Marines. That interview took place in Macon. The third step was completion of medical exams.

According to Galloway, the first three steps were the easy part. The more challenging part of the process was securing the nomination of a member of congress or the vice president. Although he applied for nomination to both of Georgia’s senators, the U.S. vice president and Congressman Hice, it was only Hice gave him an interview. That interview was completed in Milledgeville by a three-person panel comprised of two retired Marines and an education leader.

In late November or early December, Galloway received notice that Congressman Hice had nominated him. According to Galloway, about 17,000 people apply to the Naval Academy, around 4,000 receive congressional nominations, and the Academy admits 1,200. As mentioned, official acceptance into the U.S. Naval Academy came in March.