Arbour finishes U.S. Naval Academy
By Heather Graves
HOWARD – One of Bay Port’s own, Taylor Arbour, is now a U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) graduate on track to become a Marine pilot.
The 22-year old successfully completed four years of academic, physical and professional military training.
She graduated with a bachelor of science degree in applied mathematics and attained the rank of U.S. Marine Corps 2nd Lieutenant.
“For me, there really wasn’t any other school I wanted to go to besides the (USNA),” Arbour said. “I think as soon as I visited and learned more about what it was about, I knew that, pretty much, that was the only school I wanted to go to.”
With an acceptance rate of less than 9%, the USNA, founded in 1845, is one of the most selective four-year colleges in the country, putting Arbour in a prestigious group.
Candidates must be recommended by a member of Congress and have a strong academic and physical fitness background.
She graduated from Bay Port High School in 2017 with a 4.2 grade point average and received a recommendation from former U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble.
While at Bay Port, Arbour played basketball, volleyball, softball and ran track.
Her interest in sports continued while at USNA.
She served as president of the women’s club basketball team and ran an ultramarathon of 40 miles, after only training for a few weeks, her freshman year.
As the only graduating senior at Bay Port attending the USNA in Annapolis, Md., Arbour said the reactions she received to her decision were interesting, to say the least.
“It was funny because people either knew what it was or they had no idea,” she said. “People (were) really excited for me if they did know what it was. And if they didn’t, once I explained it to them, they were kind of shocked. It was a funny reaction. Some people thought I was enlisting or going right to a boat. I kind of had to explain it to them.”
Like all incoming freshmen or plebes as they’re referred to, Arbour entered the USNA as a midshipman.
And like all midshipmen, she began her journey with Plebe Summer, a seven-week physical and mental training regimen, with the goal, according to the academy, of turning civilians into midshipmen.
“That was like my indoctrination into the military, so they teach you how to salute, how to respond to officers, and basically how to be in the military,” she said.
The next four years were spent following a tightly-structured schedule focused on both academic and military curriculums.
Arbour said she knew early on the Marine Corps, and more specifically a career as a Marine Corps aviator was the path meant for her.
“Once I learned more about it and got to experience some of the aspects of it, I knew that is what I wanted to do,” she said. “It’s like the cool thing, you know, being an aviator, so I was definitely interested. But, I didn’t know if I would like it or not because I had never been in anything other than a commercial airline. But during one of my summer trainings, I got to go up and fly backseat in a training jet. Once I was up there, I just knew that was what I wanted to do.”
Now she’s off to The Basic School (TBS) for six-and-a-half months in Quantico, Va., to learn the skills needed to lead as a Marine officer.
TBS is no walk in the park.
Arbour will take part in weeks of rigorous physical and mental training, including full combat gear distance swims and hikes, marksmanship training, live-fire exercises and a four-day combat exercise, which begins with a helicopter assault.
From there, Arbour heads to flight school in Pensacola, Fla., for nearly two years.
Arbour said she looks forward to pinning those aviation wings onto her uniform.
“Without a doubt, the academy pushed me and made me into a better version of myself,” she said. “It’s time to get my wings and pay back eight years of service. I hope to make my friends and family from Wisconsin proud.”
As her journey continues on the east coast, Arbour said a part of Green Bay and Wisconsin will always be with her.
“The Midwest personality – I don’t know how to describe it, but people could just tell that I was from the Midwest,” she said. “While I miss the people in Green Bay, Culver’s ice cream and Kwik Trip, I look forward to a new journey in flight school.”
Arbour is the first Marine in her family.
“My mom was a little scared when I told her I wanted to go Marine Corps because she thinks it’s dangerous,” she said. “But I think they all support me in what I am doing.”
She isn’t, however, the only one in her family who has served in the military.
Her grandfather served in the Navy.
“Growing up, he really didn’t talk about it, so it wasn’t a really big influence (in my decision to follow a similar path),” she said. “But I think it is something cool that we now have in common now.”
Editor’s note: To read another story from The Press Times on Max Meeuwsen, who is also attending the Naval Academy, CLICK HERE.