When I joined the United States Army in 1988, my oldest brother was already an officer in the Navy, and our middle brother had already committed to ROTC at Florida State University.
Eventually, all three of my mother’s sons were active-duty and scattered around the globe. Rarely were the three of us in the continental U.S. together. My family was very proud of our service.
Now my oldest brother’s daughter and my niece, Julia Speranzo, is attending the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. Our family is extremely proud of her achievement.
So I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of pride of the Ogrydziak family. On May 27, three brothers from that family will graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Noah, Sumner and Cole Ogrydziak are from Nederland, Texas. Noah is the oldest, at 23. Cole and Sumner are 21-year-old twins. The brothers are graduating together because Noah spent a full year at West Point’s prep school before entering the Academy the same time as the twins, in 2013.
Sumner has already received his assignment. He will be headed to South Korea as part of the Engineer branch. Cole will be headed to the U.S. Army medical school to become a doctor. Noah will be in the Signal Corps but does not yet have a duty station.
Much like my family, it will be rare to have all three within the American borders without some type of coordination, and a little bit of luck. Unlike civilian vacations, military leave must be approved and is determined by the schedule and needs of the unit.
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I am sure that most people had as much of a problem as I did pronouncing their name, Ogrydziak. We are not the only ones, since all three share the nickname of “O. G.” with their classmates.
Thankfully, all three are in different regiments and accordingly have different class schedules. They try to eat dinner together when schedules allow. They also get together to do simple things like watch movies on weekends. It’s an opportunity for them to be just brothers, and not cadets.
Rarely in U.S. Military Academy history have three siblings graduated together. The last time was in 1985, when John Forrester received his Army commission with his twin sisters, Rose and Anne. It is not clear how many times this has happened previously, or even if it has since West Point was established in 1802.
Their father, Randal, is looking forward to pinning the Second Lieutenant bars on each boy’s shoulders after the three graduate. The dad is retiring after 38 years of service in the U.S. Coast Guard. Their mother, Kristine, also served 10 years in the same branch.
Our country’s history is full of families who have served our country proudly. There is no doubt that the Ogrydziaks have contributed more than their fair share to the defense of our republic.
John Cylc is an eight-year U.S. Army veteran and lives with his family in eastern Tennessee. His primary advocacy is promoting and protecting Second Amendment rights.