Call to Service Draws Student to Navy
Military service runs deep in Christian Patterson’s family. His father served in the Army, his grandfather was in the Navy, his uncle served in the Air Force, and his great-grandfather was a Marine and fought in World War II.
Christian will be joining that lineage once he completes his senior year at Woodward. While his classmates will be heading off to college, he will formally enlist in the Navy before graduation and then he’ll ship off to boot camp in the Great Lakes area.
“Once I have completed basic training, I will be shipped to the naval base in Charleston South Carolina to complete A school, Power school, and Prototype school,” Christian said. “Once this happens I plan on being deployed to the Naval base in Yokosuka, Japan where I will work on Navy aircraft carrier reactors.”
Christian’s long-term goal is to become a nuclear electrical technician, and he said the Navy affords him the chance to learn in a hands-on way—while being paid for the work. He’ll also receive free schooling as part of his service.
His friends at Woodward have been supportive of the choice, he said, despite his plans being so different from their own.
“They’ve told me what a good opportunity it is,” he said. “Within Woodward, [students want to get into the best college they can], however, sometimes this may not be the best course of action, as in my case.”
Christian expects to have his undergraduate degree completed faster than most of his peers, and his Navy training will give him dozens of hours toward a master’s degree, which he plans on completing wherever he is stationed.
He said he doesn’t yet know whether he’ll put in a full career in the Navy. After his service, he hopes to work as an engineer in the United States at a nuclear power plant.
He remembers being in seventh grade and deciding that he wanted to serve his country.
“I just want to make my parents and family proud,” he said.