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Congressman John Sarbanes

Representing the 3rd District of Maryland

Q&A with Service Academy Nominees

Back in 2015, Congressman Sarbanes nominated Patrick Nessler to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he was ultimately admitted. Patrick has since excelled at West Point. His professor for Thermo-Fluids class recently wrote his parents to say Patrick is one of the best students he’s had in 50 years of teaching! Patrick was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his experiences at West Point and about what he hopes to achieve after graduation.

Cadet Patrick Nessler

Why did you choose to apply to USMA?

I chose to apply to USMA during the end of my Junior year of high school. I had several friends who were graduating and discussing their applications to the academies. Beforehand, I didn't even know the academies existed. Earlier in the year, my junior year, my grandfather died. His funeral was held at Arlington cemetery on a cold, rainy day at the beginning of January. The experience of watching the military funeral resonated with me. Though my grandfather was only a navy enlisted man for a couple years, the notion of serving one's country and doing something that mattered with one's time here on Earth stuck with me. This ignited my want to perform military service, and with further research, the academies seemed the best fit for what I wanted. Overall, I wanted a challenge. A challenge to develop physically, mentally, and as a leader. West Point is the highest challenge I found, so I pursued it.

What have been your most rewarding experiences at USMA?

I am probably in the midst of my most rewarding experience as I answer this question. Currently, I am a squad leader for the first half of Cadet Basic Training. Only one week in, I already feel pride for the things that I have been able to teach my nine newly arrived Cadets. Being the first impression of West Point is a huge responsibility with a lot of pressure to do it right, because there is only one chance to make a first impression. Watching them develop for the first week is the most rewarding experience I have had. I especially look forward to watching their development for the next two weeks, and the rest of their career at West Point.

What are your plans for the future?

Upon graduation, I plan to either serve as a Combat engineer platoon leader or an Infantry platoon leader. Both of which will be leading a group of about 38 soldiers in high stress environments, and possibly in the midst of combat. Following the five mandatory years of service, I have not decided on what to do. Depending on my experience in my first five years, I may either remain active or return to the civilian sector while being Army Reserve. It is still too early to tell what the future will hold exactly.

For more information about service academy nominations, see here