U.S. Senator Joe Manchin nominated Pocahontas County High School senior Cary Robertson for attendance at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in Kings Point, New York. Robertson, the son of Joe and Diane Arbogast, of Marlinton, applied for the appointment last year.
Robertson is among just 36 West Virginia students to be nominated by Manchin for attendance at the nation’s four service academies.
“It is a great privilege to recommend 36 of West Virginia’s brightest young men and women to the U.S. service academies,” Manchin said during a December 22 press conference. “All of our students worked hard to earn these nominations and are determined to serve our country. Many are also striving to carry on their families’ proud military heritage. Today, I join all West Virginians in congratulating these hardworking and dedicated students, because a nomination to one of our elite service academies will develop these young men and women to become our next generation of military leaders.”
Known for its rigorous academic program, the USMMA requires more credit hours for a baccalaureate degree than any other federal service academy. Challenging coursework is augmented by experience at sea, which provides midshipmen hands-on, real-world experiences aboard working commercial vessels. Graduating USMMA midshipmen receive a highly-regarded Bachelor of Science degree, a Coast Guard license and an officer’s commission in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Robertson plans to become a military pilot.
“I’ve never flown, but I’d love the huge adrenalin rush,” he said.
A standout all-around athlete at PCHS, Robertson has a strong desire to serve in the military.
“Personally, I feel like everyone should serve their country,” he said. “It’s not only serving your country but it’s serving everyone around you. Not everyone has the opportunity to be able to serve their country like we do.”
Robertson’s family has a tradition of military service.
“My dad, my papaw on my mom’s side, and my granddad on my dad’s side all served in the military,” he said. “I have uncles who have served in the military and my aunt served in the military.”
The senior takes some good-natured flak from his veteran family members.
“Actually, they pick on me a lot because I want to be a pilot,” he said. “They said I’ll only learn to use a joystick.”
Robertson applied for a number of service academy appointments and ROTC scholarships. He said he would choose to attend any service academy, rather than a civilian university on scholarship. Although a Senator’s nomination is a great honor and carries great weight, the final decision on admission is made by the service academy.