Guest Column

Naval Academy senior shares experience, inspires others


My name is Liz Thompson. I was raised in Nocatee and attended Nease High School. My junior year, I applied and was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy. I am now a 1/C (senior) Midshipman just months away from graduating as an officer in the United States Navy.

My time at USNA began on July 1, 2020: Induction Day. I-Day marks the beginning of Plebe Summer, a rigorous seven-week program that turns civilians into Midshipmen. I had a unique Plebe Summer experience due to COVID-19, which brought on its own challenges. Since my Plebe Summer, I have been able to lead as an instructor, also known as detailer, for the class of 2027, molding them into plebes that were ready to take on academic and military challenges.

In my time at the United States Naval Academy, I have also been able to lead the Navy Spirit Cheer team as the captain of the All-Girl squad and contribute as a photographer for the Lucky Bag yearbook. 

At the Academy, I am an English major and I will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in May. On graduation day, I will also be commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy. In mid-November, every 1/C Midshipman (senior) is given their future career, known as “Service Assignment Day.” Throughout all four years, Midshipmen are striving to perform well physically and academically, as well as taking on leadership billets, forming relationships with mentors and maintaining a tight connection with their company (small group of classmates structured for accountability and mentorship) in order to have the best chance at receiving their desired service selection.

I hope to be selected as a Naval Flight Officer (NFO) where I will support and assist with navigation, weapon systems and flight operations in various Naval aircraft. 

Over the last four years, I have participated in many incredible military trainings, including spending a month on a destroyer and a month with a helicopter training squadron out of Norfolk, Virginia. My experiences have taught me a great deal about myself, others and service to this incredible nation. It has been inspiring to spend the last four years around people that share my priorities and interests.

The campus, also known as the yard, is filled with eager individuals who are driven to excellence and hold themselves to a higher standard. They push me to be my best, whether it is physical training, competing in team activities or learning military traditions.

My experience at the Naval Academy has reinforced my desire to help others be their best. As a member of the Brigade of Midshipmen I will continue learning from, and leading, those around me and then, this spring, I will take those skills into my career as a naval officer. I am committed to serve at least five years as a naval officer, and I am enthusiastic to serve my country in this way.