SMYRNA — She’s a future United States Marine Corps pilot upon graduation next spring.
In the upcoming semester, United States Naval Academy senior Lindsey Asbury will serve as a company commander within the brigade. The leadership role earns her the rank of midshipman lieutenant at the school.
The 2017 Smyrna High graduate is also closing in on a mechanical engineering degree in Annapolis.
And over the Thanksgiving break, Ms. Asbury was an ambassador for her school. She participated in the Operation Information Service Academy Forums outreach program extolling the virtues of academy life.
Through the program, Ms. Asbury was granted extra time at home over the Thanksgiving break to connect with students and the community to promote the academy.
Ms. Asbury, 22, made presentations and answered questions at her Smyrna High alma mater and Middletown High, sharing information with students about the academy, including the process of getting there.
Among the talking points, Ms. Asbury said, is the different way of life in Annapolis compared to a more traditional college experience.
“It’s nothing like a civilian school. It’s very different,” she said. “At the academy, there’s a structure (when doing) things.
“We have (certain) things you have to go through, there’s formations and military obligations.”
The school offers 26 majors, Division I varsity athletic programs and over 30 other clubs and extracurricular activities.
Plus, she said, the education is free and comes with a five-year commitment to military service that she’s happy to fulfill.
The tremendous friendships and bonds formed at the 4,000-student academy are part of the package too, she said.
The experience is an extreme mental challenge with disappointments that eventually pay off, according to Ms. Asbury.
“They teach us about stoicism,” she said. “You will fail. I’ve failed many times at the academy, but it’s just learning to reset and learn something from the failure and then keeping going.
“You’re bound to fail but just keep rolling with it. They make you fail so you learn how to work harder to succeed, so it’s a good feeling when you do succeed at the academy because it’s tough, everything is tough.
“It’s a good feeling when you are successful and make it to the end.”
When speaking with students, Ms. Asbury encouraged them to participate in as many activities in high school as possible.
She was a four-year member of the Smyrna High field hockey squad (serving as co-captain senior year) and spent four years in the concert band playing the French horn.
Ms. Asbury advised anyone thinking of possibly earning entrance to the Naval Academy to, “Study hard and make sure you have good grades. SAT scores do matter.
“Get involved in lots of clubs and activities that you enjoy. It doesn’t really matter what you get involved in, just get involved. Stay active because there’s a physical fitness test to get in. And then you get a physical fitness test every year at the academy.”
Traveling on her path to the academy didn’t come without a detour, either. Ms. Asbury spent a year at the University of Delaware while continuing her quest to enter the Naval Academy.
Her efforts did not go unnoticed by Dan Bates, a Class of 1987 Naval Academy graduate who now teaches computer science and journalism at First State Military Academy in Clayton.
While Mr. Bates assisted Ms. Asbury as part of the Blue and Gold officer program, “It was really all her grades and achievements that really made her competitive for the appointment.”
Also, he said, “Lindsey is a perfect example of someone who didn’t give up when she didn’t get accepted to the Naval Academy the first time.
“She persisted and here she is four years later — extremely successful — a mechanical engineering major who will be a company commander in the spring semester.
“I can’t think of a better role model for a young high school student to look up to.”