Growing up, Jakob Bradley always knew that he wanted to join the Coast Guard. The Turlock High School senior remembers watching “The Guardian” as a child, marveling at the Coast Guard officer’s bravery and ability in the water. As a swimmer and water polo player himself, Bradley hoped that he too could one day become a hero.
“I was always fascinated by rescuing people and going out to sea,” said Bradley. “The brotherhood of the Coast Guard really stuck out to me as well.”
On Feb. 3, Bradley’s dream came true when he was informed that he had been accepted into the United States Coast Guard Academy. Admission to the academy is highly competitive, with fewer than 350 students accepted annually out of 10,000 applicants. Bradley was grateful to be admitted into the prestigious program.
“It didn’t hit me at first,” said Bradley. “It was a weird feeling, but as time went on I realized how lucky I was.”
The United States Coast Guard Academy is located in New London, Connecticut. The smallest of the five military academies, the academy is an accredited college which represents the nation’s best and brightest students. Bradley was accepted into the academy based on his superior academic achievement and leadership potential. He credits his leadership skills to the Boys State retreat he was able to participate in, where he learned the rights, privileges and responsibilities of U.S. citizens. Bradley is also the epitome of academic excellence, maintaining a 4.5 grade point average while competing in both swimming and water polo at THS.
“Water polo and swim have been a big factor in this for me,” said Bradley. “It’s given me a sound body and sound mind.”
Bradley leaves for the academy on June 27, where on his first day he will be subject to a physical exam. Bradley will need to complete as many sit-ups as possible in two minutes, run one and a half miles and perform push-ups on cadence for two minutes straight. To prepare, Bradley has been staying active in the pool and attending Cross Fit classes. He also does push-ups and sit-ups every night before bed.
Over the next four years, Bradley will be working his way toward a Bachelor of Science degree and a guaranteed position of leadership as a commissioned officer in the United States Coast Guard. He hopes to work in the field of specialty management, but has considered engineering as well.
“I don’t even really know who I am yet, so it’s hard to choose,” said Bradley.
Bradley was also recently recognized by the Marine Corps at an awards ceremony where he took home the Distinguished Athlete Award.
“It’s nice to know all of my hard work has paid off,” said Bradley.
Along with his own hard work, Bradley also credits many of his teachers, both past and present, and his parents for his success.
“I cannot stress enough how important (they) were to me,” said Bradley, who provided a list of those he wished to thank. “Mr. Whitehill for the opportunities at Boys State, Mr. Sutterley for peaking my interest in both water polo and in the classroom, as well as Mrs. Loomis, Mr. Morgan, Mrs. Cordell, Mrs. Simmons, Mrs. Bettencourt, Mrs. Raynes, Mr. Rosengarth, Mr. Huth, Mr. Hakanson, Mrs. Ogden, Mr. Rabine, Mrs. Asgill, Mrs. Kline, and Mrs. Marchy. Walnut, Dutcher and THS all afforded me a path to achieve this substantial opportunity. I will be forever grateful. My parents were also the driving force behind my success and I can’t thank them enough.”