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Seniors to set sail, take flight for military service academies

By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Three Del Oro seniors are spreading their wings and soaring to new heights as they head off to attend military academies. Jesse Stafford and Eddie Love will attend the Air Force Academy in Colorado, and Josh McCormick will attend the Merchant Marine Academy in New York. The graduates were recommended for their appointments by Congressman Tom McClintock from the 4th District. The young men are all athletes and scholars. Jesse and Eddie earned 4.2 grade-point averages, and Josh earned 3.8. Jesse lettered in wrestling, cross country and track. Eddie played football and wrestled, and Josh played water polo and competed on the swim team. Jesse will compete on the academy’s wrestling team, and Josh will be compete on the Merchant Marine Academy swim team. Eddie said he may try to walk on the football team or choose to be on the parachute or gliding team. Eddie, the son of a firefighter, said he’s dreamed of going to the Air Force Academy since he was in eighth grade. He said the academy chose 1,200 for their freshman class from 10,000 applicants and based their choices on academics, sports, leadership qualities and character. Jesse is following in his older brother’s footsteps. Joe Stafford graduated from Del Oro in 2007 and just completed his junior year at the Air Force Academy. “The Air Force Academy gives you the chance to do things you don’t get to do anywhere else,” Jesse said. Eddie cited parachuting and combat survival training as two of those activities. All three young men said they want to become pilots. During their freshman year, they will complete basic training before venturing into more specialized training. Josh said the job of the Merchant Marines is to protect civilian ships. He said when he’s a sophomore he’ll spend half the year at sea on a ship and will go to five or six countries. During his junior year, he’ll spend two-thirds of the year at sea “traveling around the world.” When asked how he would handle the discipline of the military Josh said, “I’m going with the mindset that I need to work hard – let them know it’s my goal and I’ll give over 100 percent.”