As far back as I can remember, I wanted to go to the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point and become a career Army Engineer officer. My dad served in World War II and remained in the Army Reserves afterwards so I had some appreciation of what life in the military could be like. Learning that West Point was habitually one of the three hardest colleges to enter, I worked on conditioning so I could pass all of the possible physical tests administered as part of the entrance exams. I became involved in Boy Scouts, church activities, and school sports. I worked to keep my grades high, and eventually I received my appointment to West Point, graduated in the top 8%, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in Air Defense Artillery.