MUSCATINE, Iowa — Muscatine High School senior TJ Husar began thinking about his future when he was a child who dreamed of a career in the military.
He grew up learning about the first-hand military experiences of men he knew and trusted.
Husar’s grandfather, John Husar of Oakland, Neb., who died in April 2010 at age 72, had a 22-year Air Force career.
Husar’s father, Mark Husar, 49, of Columbus, Neb., was in the U.S. Navy for five years and his uncle Al Rise of Arizona achieved a 20-year career with the Marines.
Throughout high school, TJ Husar strived for the type of academic and leadership achievements that would land him a recommendation for the U.S. Naval Academy.
“We always wanted him to excel in whatever he strived for,” said TJ’s mother, Cindy Husar, 48, of Muscatine. “He’s always been aggressive and competitive.”
On Jan. 18, Husar learned he is one of 1,250 students who were accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy this year.
He will leave his family, which includes younger brother Michael Husar, a MHS freshman and wrestler, when he enters the Academy in June. He’ll be very much missed, said his mom, but she’s happy for her son.
“It will be difficult to let him go,” she said. “But I stand behind him in every way I can.”
TJ needed one recommendation from an Iowa senator or representative to apply for the academy, said Cindy, but he received three from Senators Charles Grassley and Tom Harkin and Rep. Dave Loebsack. The triple nomination is called a Congressional Slate, she said.
According to a press release from Harkin’s office, Husar is one of 46 Iowa students Harkin selected from a pool of more than 150 applicants for a
military academy nomination.
A successful nominee must demonstrate superior leadership, academic and athletic abilities, the release said, and be of outstanding moral character.
The academy selects the final candidates.
Husar prepared for the selection process by studying and demonstrating his leadership ability in extracurricular programs.
“There are a lot of people who were pulling for me and hoping for the best,” said Husar.
The National Honor Society member carried a 4.0 grade point average until this year when a B in calculus broke that trend, but he isn’t discouraged.
Husar could have taken easier courses this year, but said he chose more difficult studies to prepare him for college.
He is captain of the MHS football and track teams for which he has played for four years and hopes to play for the Navy Football team at the Academy.
“I know how much pressure he was under,” said Husar’s counselor Jake Mueller. “It’s extremely difficult to get accepted.”
Academy students earn a bachelor of science degree and Husar said he is keeping an open mind — “There are so many fields of study you can choose from,” he said — but he is leaning toward a major in Arabic language with a minor in history.
“I plan to go into the Marines and do something in the Middle East with the infantry,” said Husar. “It would be to my advantage to be able to communicate and understand.”
After completing the four-year Academy program, Husar plans to go into the Marines.
“After five years of active duty, you can make a career of the military or get out,” said Husar, whose goal is to become a Marine colonel. “I’m one to definitely make it a career.”