Kentucky Guardsman headed to West Point

Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Pvt. Oliver Douthitt with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry received an appointment to the United States Military Academy during a ceremony at Fort Knox, Ky., April 26, 2015. A member of the Kentucky Guard for only 14 months, Douthitt said the training he has received will help him be successful in his new Army career. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

FORT KNOX, Ky. — A Kentucky Guardsman is taking the next step in his military career to the United States Military Academy. Pvt. Oliver Douthitt, an infantryman with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry accepted an appointment to West Point at a small ceremony on Brooks Field in Fort Knox, April 26.

Surrounded by family and fellow infantrymen, Douhitt was presented an official certificate by Brig. Gen. (Retired) Charles B. Skaggs.

“It means a lot to get the opportunity to go to West Point, not a whole lot of people get to do that,” said Douthitt. “My unit has been very supportive the whole time and I really appreciate everything they have done so far.”

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Brig. Gen. (Retired) Charles Skaggs congratulates Pvt. Oliver Douthitt on his acceptance into the United States Military Academy following a ceremony at Fort Knox, Ky., April 26, 2015. Douthitt, a member of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry, will report to West Point in June. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

The Paducah, Kentucky native is currently a geology major at the University of Kentucky, but decided to push re-start on his future and attend West Point. Enlisting in the Guard in 2014 for the education benefits, Douthitt gives credit to the Kentucky Guard for helping him lay the groundwork for his future.

“The Guard has given me the opportunity to go to school and get plenty of military training, so I was able to do two things at once to prepare me for what is ahead.”

“I’ve only been in 14 months, but I feel like my enlisted service will be very beneficial when I get up there.”

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Skaggs, a 1975 West Point graduate and Hopkinsville, Kentucky native said the history of the military academy is like the history of our country. He noted that more than 12,000 apply each year and roughly 1,200 are accepted, a fact he knows Douthitt is proud to be a part of.

“Admission to West Point is equivalent to a college scholarship valued at approximately $280,000,” said Skaggs. “It give me great pleasure to present this appointment to the West Point class of 2019 to Private Douthitt.”

Douthitt’s parents beamed with excitement and joy for their son. Mother and father both were happy he enlisted in the Guard, which has helped prepare them as well.

“We’re proud first that he’s a Soldier, then we will be even more proud when he’s an officer,” said Oliver’s father, Jeff Douthitt. “Joining the Guard has made it easy for us to know what to expect with a son in the military.”

According to Douthitt’s battalion commander, Lt. Col. Joseph Lear, it’s been at least seven years since the last Kentucky Guardsman accepted an appointment to West Point. He remembers because it one of his Soldiers then too.

“It’s really a testament to the mettle of the Soldier we have in the battalion and the Kentucky Guard attracts,” said Lear. “The process shows the fortitude, his drive and his character that he will enhance as he grows as a leader.”

“I look forward to getting all the opportunities presented to me for going to a place like West Point,” said Douthitt. “I would consider coming back to the Guard though, I have loved my time serving here.”

With a final handshake and battalion coin, Lear congratulated Douthitt one last time, with a simple reminder, “Don’t forget where you came from.”

 

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