As a 10-year-old boy, spending the last day of a fishing vacation with his family, Raymond Gibbs came to the realization that he wanted to serve his country.
Gibbs recalls vividly the day he witnessed two military planes flying overhead. It was a moment that cemented his decision to become a pilot.
"I didn't know they were military planes at first," said Gibbs, now a senior at Greenbrier High School. "After a little research, I found that out."
Gibbs recently has received acceptance into the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. He hopes to one day become a naval officer and fly F-18s.
"I've enjoyed it tremendously," said Gibbs of his years as a member of the Wolfpack's Naval Junior Reserves Officers Training program, the only one of its kind in Columbia County. "I definitely want to do this."
Gibbs told his NJROTC instructor early on that he wanted to be a navy officer.
"He told me as a freshman that he wanted to go to the Naval Academy and be a fighter pilot," said Cmdr. Rob Brewer, the senior naval science instructor at Greenbrier. "He has tremendous drive and determination. He is a hard worker, a talented mentor and an impeccable role model."
Gibbs' appointment to the Naval Academy came at the recommendation of U.S. Rep. Paul Broun.
Gibbs said the application process started last year, and he was officially selected in the first wave of applicants in September. Broun's congressional appointment followed last month, and Brown visited the school Wednesday to hold a signing ceremony for Gibbs.
"This is amazing," said Gibbs, who visited the academy during the summer seminar last year.
While there he lived the life of a midshipman and underwent a physical exam.
"My scores were perfect," said Gibbs, the son of Robert and Sandra Gibbs. "I've wanted this all my whole life."
"I am very proud of Raymond," said Brewer. "I know that he will do well in the Naval Academy environment and become a talented and professional young naval officer and a great American."
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