Lake City Reporter: Two friends now headed to the U.S. Naval Academy

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Jimmy Carter studied there.

So did H. Ross Perot.

In a few years, two Lake City natives also will be alumni of the prestigious United States Naval Academy.

Ryan Trespalacios, a 2003 Fort White High School graduate, recently finished his plebe year, or first year at the USNA.

Longtime friend Tyler Flippin, a 2004 Columbia High School graduate, spent the past school year at New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, N.M., preparing for his first year.

He will be heading to Annapolis, Md., in August to begin Plebe Summer, the USNA’s rigorous seven-week orientation program.

Before starting his first year, Trespalacios attended the Naval Academy Prep School in Newport, R.I.

“To be appointed to the Naval Academy, you have to be nominated by a senator or congressman,” Trespalacios said. “To get their recommendation, you have to complete an extensive application process and be interviewed.”

A nomination doesn’t guarantee an appointment.

For the Class of 2008, 14,425 applied and 1,227 were admitted.

Approximately 20 percent were women.

U.S. Rep. Karen Thurman nominated Trespalacios in 2003 and U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw nominated Flippin in 2004.

Appointees attend preparatory school before entering their first year at the USNA.

They receive their schooling, a computer, uniforms, food and supplies free of charge.

“As long as you make good grades and meet your requirements, you can stay,” Flippin said.

Trespalacios described his first year experience as very rigid and disciplined.

“We had to be in our military uniforms at all times, and perform regular drills,” he said.

In addition to maintaining his studies, Trespalacios also plays soccer for his school.

“I chose to apply to USNA because it was a prestigious institution that could give me a great future,” he said.

“I am considered active-duty military, and when I graduate I will be ready to become a Navy officer.

Flippin said he looked into the USNA after his friend was appointed.

“I applied even though I didn’t think my credentials were great,” he said. “I did my year at military school and really fell in love with it.”

Trespalacios said that engineering is the main major at the USNA, but he is studying information technology.

“One day I hope to go to flight school,” he said.

Flippin said he is still deciding on a major.

Trespalacios said that during the school year he was out of bed, showered and shaved by 6:30 a.m.

He would then give a chow call announcing breakfast.

He also had to be ready when upperclassmen quizzed him on naval information.

At 7 a.m., he performed formations and went to classes starting at 7:55 a.m.

He would give another chow call at lunch time and attend two more classes in the afternoon.

From 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. he had soccer practice and ate dinner at 7:30 p.m.

He was back on deck at 8 p.m., followed by study time until 10.

Later he had a “Blue and Gold” meeting and went to sleep to start it all over the next morning.

“We couldn’t take naps or listen to music and we always had to chop, meaning running and never walking,” Trespalacios said.

He said many people tell him he seems more mature since his first year.

Manners and respect are requirements at the USNA, but Trespalacios had no problem adjusting.

“Growing up in the south, I was taught to say please, thank-you and sir and ma’am,” he said. “For others it was harder.”

Plebes are responsible for knowing a book of information including naval history, code of conduct and famous alumni among other information.

“They put a lot on you to teach you t o work under pressure,” Trespalacios said.

Midshipmen also must pass physical tests.

“About 100 students drop out during their first year because of the physical requirements,” he said. “After that, it usually because they can’t handle the rigorous academic program.”

Midshipmen may not lie, cheat or steal and anyone caught doing these offenses is thrown out.

Both Flippin and Trespalacios have to learn naval traditions, like walking a certain way around corners or yelling certain sayings like “Go Navy, beat Army.”

“This process has been used to make top quality officers and the traditions will not change,” Flippin said.

Both young men said that the conflicts in the Middle East did not scare them from entering the military.

“I believe we need to be there and I would love to do my part if needed,” Trespalacios said. Flippin agreed.

“I knew I was joining the military, and I am prepared to do what I have to,” Flippin said. “I agree with what’s going on there.”

Neither seems to miss the traditional college experience.

“College life is often synonymous with freedom for a lot of people,” Trespalacios said. “But I know I that I am privileged to be studying at the academy, and I know it will all pay off.”

Cadets have their entire academic career planned for them.

Most take 18-20 credits and are not allowed to choose how many they take.

“Time management is the hardest lesson,” he said. “There is so much to do with little time to do it.”

Trespalacios has already received job offers from successful alumni, including one job in Hawaii.

–Ashley Cisneros
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.

By | 2017-04-28T07:32:44+00:00 May 21st, 2005|Categories: Blog, Samples|Tags: , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Ashley Cisneros Mejia is a journalist, entrepreneur and marketer. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later as an editor at Florida Trend business magazine. Ashley has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2009, as a technical writer, marketing manager, and public relations practitioner. She also founded two digital marketing agencies in Orlando. Named one of Orlando’s 40 Under 40 and honored by the Women’s Executive Council of Orlando for achievements in media and communications, Ashley earned a B.S. in Journalism and an M.S. in Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida.

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