‘Someone has to serve, so send me’ — Brookhaven senior receives West Point appointment

Published 8:00 am Saturday, February 5, 2022

Brookhaven senior Sam Arnold can’t pinpoint the exact moment he wanted to join the military, but he said it has pretty much been a lifetime dream.

Now Arnold, 18, is about to enter the Unit-ed States Military Academy at West Point and become a soldier in the U.S. Army. He received his appointment recently.

He remembers play-ing with his toy soldiers and little green Army men around age 11, and already being commit-ted to the idea of be-ing part of the military. Then he learned that men and women were overseas fighting in the Middle East.

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“I felt something I had never felt before,” Arnold said. “It was a feeling of sadness but also of thankfulness.”

It was then that his calling met his resolve and he knew he wanted to be in the infantry where people were making a difference.

“It’s like the saying, ‘Someone must do it. Someone has to serve, so send me,’” he said.

His path toward the Armed Forces never wavered, though he did briefly consider the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard.

“Everything I’ve done — school-related, running cross country and the Boy Scouts — has all been toward this goal,” he said. “Then the Academy became the route I wanted to take. West Point was where I felt drawn to and was the only academy I applied to. That’s what I was shooting for.”

The academy is a four-year college, after which Arnold will have an eight-year commitment — five years active duty and three in the Reserve, unless he opts to continue in active duty.

“If I enjoy it and am motivated, I will definitely pursue a lifetime career in the military,” he said.

His friend and fellow BHS Panther cross-country teammate Grayson Childress also recently received an academy appointment, to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

“There are so many people competing for a spot at the (USAF) Academy and at West Point. I’m glad it worked out that way,” Arnold said.

Arnold, son of Frank “Tripp” Arnold and Kim Arnold, said as he pursued his Eagle Scout badge in the Boy Scouts and completed community service projects, he felt called to continue to serve.

“I always get fulfillment out of serving others and making sacrifices,”he said. “I want to serve others and lead men and women, and I Knew West Point would be a great place to do that. I want to get the education and training to pursue that kind of life.”

The teen will report to West Point, New York, on June 27 to begin his career.

“It’s shave the head, line up, march the field and then do basic training,” said Arnold. “Then we’ll start school in August.”

The academic portion of the academy is where Arnold said he’ll probably have to focus the most. Class rank is determined on performance, and the better a cadet performs, the more options he or she will have in where and to what they are assigned.

“I am really excited for it. I’ll be one of the first people from my county for a really long time to go to the Academy, and I’m sure I will not be the last. I’m excited for not only our county but also the state of Mississippi,” he said.

He wants to spread the word to others that pursuing a military career through West Point is some-thing that is achievable.

“I look forward to finding people and helping them in the journey, to tell them how to do it and take them on the same route.”

“When it comes down to it,” he said. “I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself. It’s been an amazing journey and I’m just so thankful.”