Buckeye Resident Gets West Point Recommendations
Buckeye, WV – Every year, the United States Military Academy searches the country for the best-qualified students to attend the prestigious Army officer training center at West Point, New York. The Academy is assisted by members of Congress, whose staffs review thousands upon thousands of applications and select the best for nominations.
A Pocahontas County High School senior has made it through the first part of this rigorous selection process. Both Senator Joe Manchin and Congressman Nick Rahall announced they will nominate Caleb Walkup, of Buckeye, to attend West Point next year. Walkup, the son of Mary Walkup, of Buckeye, and Dr. Harry Walkup, of Worton, Maryland, says he feels proud.
“I feel pretty good about it,” he said. “I mean, not a lot of people who can say they’ve got nominations from up in Congress. So, I’m pretty happy about it.”
The PCHS scholar and athlete says he pursued leadership opportunities in school.
“Well, I got elected as a class president my sophomore year,” he said. “I got elected treasurer of the National Honor Society earlier this year, also. I’m treasurer of my 4H club. I just try to hold the leadership position in any clubs or sports, that I can.”
Walkup visited the Military Academy last fall. The nominee says he was impressed with the historic institution.
“It was an awesome place,” he said. “I got the tour from a cadet and asked a lot of questions about it. It’s amazing what all they do there and just the history that’s involved was really amazing.”
The Buckeye resident says he’s already started his military career.
“I’m actually already in the United State Army Reserves,” he said. “The 300th Chemical Company, up near Morgantown. I did my basic training over the summer at Fort Benning.”
Fort Benning, Georgia is the home of the Army Infantry Training Center, the Army Airborne School and the 75th Ranger Regiment. Walkup says the training was tough.
“It was really, really hot,” he said. “It was terribly hot. It was pretty hardcore. I know every one of our drill sergeants had served two or three tours in Iraq or Afghanistan. They were relentless, as far as training, but, it was good experience. A really good experience.”
The young soldier says he plans to become a front-line officer in the military’s most grueling specialty.
“I’m mainly interested in infantry,” he said. “I grew up watching these old World War II movies and I just always wanted to find myself on a battlefield. Not mainly, just because I want to fight. I want to serve my country and I feel the battlefield is the best place to do it at.”
The nominee’s mother, Mary Walkup says Caleb has been interested in a military career from an early age, but had to overcome doubts whether he was up to such an enormous challenge.
“I know there was a point, just before he went to visit West Point, where Caleb felt a little discouraged about whether he could do it,” she said. “We just said, ‘well, you don’t have to do that, maybe that’s not what you’re supposed to do. Maybe you need to take a walk and really pray about it and decide whether it’s something you want to pursue.’ So, he came back from the walk and said, ‘well, let’s go ahead and go.’ I think, once he went to West Point, he was sure that he really wanted to give his all.”
Walkup talks about some of his teachers and others who helped him get the nomination.
“Mr. Taylor was great,” he said. “He wrote some great letters of recommendation for me. Mrs. Kay Wylie, she did my PT [physical training] test with me. Sheriff Jonese, he wrote me letters of recommendation, which were really good.”
The Buckeye soldier says two American generals have inspired him to shoot for the stars.
“I love reading history, especially about George Washington and Robert E. Lee,” he said. “Those are really my role models. So, I’d like to pursue becoming a general. Of course, that will take about 30 years, but I think I’d like to do that.”