MISSION INTO SERVICE
Read about how Notre Dame and its mission helped lead to success in serving America in the U.S. Navy.
Becoming a pilot in the United States Navy is no walk in the park.
Case in point: The U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2020 had more than 16,000 applicants and admitted about 1,200. If history proves accurate, 1,100 will graduate at the end of their third year. Of those, 240 will select Navy pilot as their next step and about 80 will enter jet training. By the time the Class of 2020 reaches the fleet, maybe 50 ultimately will be classified as fighter pilots.
Notre Dame Prep graduate Maya McPartlin (2016) found out just before Thanksgiving that she was one of the few currently enrolled in the academy to be accepted to the Navy's elite flight school and will soon begin her journey to fighter pilot status.
"As a junior at the Naval Academy, I had to take a test, which was similar to the ACT, to make sure that I could qualify as a pilot," said McPartlin, who recently stopped by her high school alma mater to talk to students about careers in the Navy. "Fortunately, I was able to get scores that allowed me to put 'Navy pilot' as my top choice in my list of preferences."
She said the entire senior class at the academy found out their service assignments the week before Thanksgiving and "that's when I discovered that I was going to be a Navy aviator!"
However, according to McPartlin, who also is a member of the Navy's varsity rowing team, flying for the U.S. Navy wasn't always high on her bucket list.
"I first got an inkling that I wanted to join the aviation community only after coming to the academy," she said. "It hasn't always been a lifelong dream, but it was definitely something I had an interest in. I was able to shadow a helicopter squadron at a naval base in Coronado, Calif., this past summer and after talking to the pilots in that community, I knew then that it definitely was what I wanted to pursue as a career."
McPartlin will be attending flight school at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, and she believes it will take about a year and a half to two years to complete. Meanwhile, she plans to graduate from the academy in May of 2020.
McPartlin also believes that she wouldn't be where she is currently — on the doorstep of an elite aviator school — if it wasn't for Notre Dame Prep.
"NDP's mission has really translated perfectly into my time at the academy," she said. "In fact, NDP's mission is very similar to the Naval Academy's mission, which is 'to develop midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically and imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor and loyalty in order to graduate leaders who are dedicated to a career of Naval service.'"
McPartlin also noted the academic discipline at NDP has served her very well so far at the academy.
"Getting good grades and having good study habits were things that I was accustomed to at NDP," she said. "Now the academy has allowed me to further my growth in becoming an 'upright citizen,' which I practice daily in the interactions I have with civilians, classmates and officers here."