Alumnus Thaddeus Brown graduated in 2014 and joined the U.S. Navy. In high school Brown participated in JROTC, NHS, cross country and volunteered at his church.
What have you done after high school?
“I am currently a first-class midshipman (senior) at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, majoring in Aerospace Engineering,” Brown said.
What made you want to do what you are doing now?
“I saw the military, specifically becoming a military officer, as an organization that could provide me with challenge, leadership, and incredible opportunities all while allowing me to serve my country,” Brown said. “The Marine Corps in particular interested me since they pride themselves on being the, ‘first to fight’ and prioritize decentralized decision making, thereby empowering its junior leaders to make decisions that directly impact the lives of others.”
What did you learn or experience in high school affect you in college and beyond?
“Taking AP classes definitely helped,” Brown said. “The classes Legacy offers combined with my performance on AP exams allowed me to validate four semesters of Spanish, Calculus I & II, a world history class, and Chemistry I. Not having to take these classes lightened my workload and allowed me to take classes that interested me such as Human Spaceflight- learning about US and other space programs from a USNA grad astronaut- and Flight Test Engineering, test flying a BE55 Baron and evaluating its performance/ design features.”
Explain your job now.
“The mission of the Naval Academy is, ‘to develop midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically,’ and graduate leaders of character who are capable of leading sailors and Marines into combat,” Brown said. “Essentially we are simultaneously attending college and developing ourselves into military officers. I have the privilege of being my company’s company commander which means I am responsible for all that happens or fails to happen in my company (151 midshipmen (students), approximately evenly broken down by class year). Major tenets of the position are professional and personal development, planning, and general oversight of the company.”
What are your plans for the future?
“In May, I will commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marines where I hope to be selected to fly the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in support of Marines on the ground,” Brown said. “The Marine Corps as a whole centers around the infantry and its air component is no different, it exists solely to provide Marines with fire support and logistical augmentation. Regardless of their job specialty (maintenance, combat engineer, administration, among many others), “Every Marine is a rifleman.” That being said, every Marine officer is notional infantry platoon commander. In support of this philosophy, all newly commissioned Marine officers attend six months of infantry skills and tactics training at The Basic School (TBS) in Quantico, VA for six months. From there, I would attend Introductory Flight Screening (IFS) and Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API) before completing Primary and Advanced flight training. Since Uncle Sam paid for my education, I have a minimum time I must serve in return. For ground contracts (Infantry, logistics, tanks, etc), the commitment is 5 years from graduation and for aviation contracts (pilots) the commitment is 10 years from graduation due to the additional training costs associated with aviation. We find out what warfare community we are assigned to on November 16th. Assignments are based on aptitude, needs of the Navy/ Marine Corps, and personal preference and my first choice was Marine pilot. The Marines are under the Department of the Navy which is why the Naval Academy commissions both Naval and Marine officers.”
What is your advice to current high schoolers?
“The best advice I could give is find something you’re passionate about and follow that wherever that takes you,” Brown said. “Serve others in your daily life and treat everyone with dignity and respect.”