Joining the ranks: Clark teen earns West Point appointment

Published 12:13 pm Monday, April 3, 2017

Dalton Carter says he’s always been fascinated by the military.

He can’t explain why. There’s no history of military service in his immediate family. The interest and desire, though, has always been there.

In March, Carter found out he earned an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

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“I feel it would be an honor to serve there and have a good start at a career,” Dalton said.

Earning that appointment took a number of steps, including receiving a recommendation from either U.S. Rep. Andy Barr or U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, writing papers, getting letters of recommendations, a physical and interviews.

“It’s a long haul but it’s worth it,” he said this week.

“I don’t have any connections. I think it’s cool to be a kid from Kentucky and not know anyone there. Everybody starts off the same. It’s the American dream, I guess.”

The academy, commonly referred to as West Point, primarily trains officers for the U.S. Army. Students, called cadets, complete a four-year bachelor of science degree and are commissioned as second lieutenants upon graduation. Dalton said he must serve five years on active duty and three years as a reservist, though he plans on building a military career.

“I’ve always had an interest (in the military),” he said. “All my life, I’ve looked up to those who served.”

Deciding to apply, he said, didn’t feel like a decision at all.

“I always felt like it was a calling,” he said. “It’s so natural. I like leading people. I felt like I’d be good in the military.”

His time at the Academy will be his first exposure to military life. Carter, who attends high school in Montgomery County, said he didn’t have enough electives to take JROTC classes in addition to his classes for welding and his participation in state competition. Carter said he will earn his welder’s certification this year as well.

“I’ve always been more hands-on,” he said.

The Academy was formed in 1802 as a national military academy and focused on civil engineering. After the Civil War, its curriculum expanded into other disciplines.

Carter, the son of Cherokee and Heather Carter, is due to report to West Point July 3 for seven weeks of basic training before classes begin.

“It’ll be a long road,” he said.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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