Lindsay Bowen was born on Fort Stewart. She has been active in Junior ROTC and the Civil Air Patrol at Bryan County High School. She comes from a military family; her father, Gerald, spent 22 years in the Army.
So it does not come as a surprise that she will be leaving in June for the United States Military Academy. It could have been the Naval Academy. Or the Air Force Academy. Same goes for the Merchant Marine and Coast Guard academies.
Bowen could have attended any of the five service academies and had offers of ROTC scholarships to schools such as Duke and Mercer universities and The Citadel.
“I’ve been thinking about this ever since sixth grade,” she said. “My dad encouraged me to go the officer route.”
Bowen, a former gymnast, said it was a gymnastics meet she saw on television in sixth grade that piqued her interest in service academies.
“Air Force was one of the teams in the meet, so I wanted to go there and do gymnastics,” she said.
In the end, Bowen chose West Point for academic reasons.
“They offer a major in behavioral sciences, and that’s what I want to study,” she said. “I’m interested in cultural anthropology, and I’ll probably study a language. Most likely German.”
Bowen, who also participated in Georgia Girls State, is student council and class president and has gone on two mission trips to Poland, said she thinks that background would suit her well for international relations.
“Last summer, I visited the Air Force, Naval and Coast Guard academies, but West Point was my first choice,” she said. “It was good to have a plan B though.”
Bowen said the application process took more than a year and is something she worked on almost every day.
“I think one week I wrote like 26 essays,” she said, laughing. “But that’s OK. I’m not the kind of person who can just sit around.”
After her gymnastics days were over, Bowen got involved in competitive cheerleading and ran cross country and track, which came in handy for the physical fitness tests she had to perform as part of the application process.
“Each academy has different fitness assessments, but mainly they included a mile run, push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups,” she said. “And for some reason, a basketball throw from your knees where you couldn’t move your upper body.”
Bowen has to report June 27 to West Point for six weeks of basic training before classes start and will attend leadership and field training sessions in succeeding summers.
“I think I’ll get to come home for Thanksgiving, Christmas and about three weeks in the summer,” she said.
After graduation, Bowen has to serve five years, although she also wants to attend flight school to become a helicopter pilot, which would extend her commitment to eight years.
“Your job selection is based on class rank, so I’d love to get a job I like and do 20 years,” she said. “If I do 20, then I could retire and do more mission work.”