He comes from a legion of military men, so it was only likely that Nathan Beene would enlist in the military once he graduated from high school. But an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs was icing on the cake.
"I grew up in a military-oriented family," said Nathan, a 2005 honor graduate of Greenbrier High School.
"My sophomore year, I started doing ROTC and I found out that there are certain service academies."
Nathan, who served as an executive officer of the NJROTC at Greenbrier High his senior year, began the footwork that would lead to the eventual appointment by U.S. Congressman Charlie Norwood. To be considered for acceptance to the Air Force Academy, students must be nominated for the appointment; however, a nomination does not guarantee acceptance.
"To find out you are going to be awarded what amounts to a $345,000 scholarship, that doesn't happen every day," said Nathan, the son of Ralph and Connie Beene, of Evans. "It's an Ivy League education that pays while attending college."
Nathan Beene graduated with honors from Greenbrier High School. He plans to major in history while at the United States Air Force Academy. He hopes to fly fighter jets.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Upon graduation from the Air Force Academy, Nathan will be commissioned as a second lieutenant, with an obligation of five years of active-duty service. He plans to continue with additional training to be a pilot, which will obligate him to an additional five years of service.
"I want to fly fighter jets," he said. "I figure I'll already be through half of the 20-year retirement requirement and I can retire around 41 or 42."
While at the Air Force Academy, Nathan plans to major in history and eventually go into law or international law. He also plans to minor in a foreign language, with his interest in French.
"I have had three years of French in high school, so I have a good base in that language," said the former captain of the Greenbrier Wolfpack varsity wrestling team.
While none of Nathan's family members are on active duty, one grandfather was in the Marines and another was in the Navy. Other family members have served in the various branches throughout the years.
"One of the few things in life that we have is our freedom," said Nathan, citing the events of Sept. 11, 2001, as a greater motivation for him to accept the appointment. "I look around and see what we have and I look around at other countries. I want to be a part of helping their future generations."
"Nathan was definitely someone who wanted to go (to the Air Force Academy)," said Charles Newton, an admission's liaison officer who interviewed Nathan several times before writing a letter to Norwood's office recommending the appointment. "I think he will make an outstanding cadet and an outstanding officer once he graduates. He is a very civic- and community-minded individual."
Nathan said he believes wholeheartedly that all Americans should serve their country in some form.
"Somehow, everyone should give some sort of service to their community," he said. "We are obligated to do that."
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