The PCU Mississippi speeds along the surface in this photo supplied by the U.S. Navy. The $2.6 billion sub was commissioned in a ceremony Saturday.
ALBANY, Ga. -- Nathan Markette, Michael VanOteghem and John B. "Beau" Carroll IV have always had a bond.
It started when they were in the Boy Scouts and participated in various activities through the Chehaw Council. They attended Scout camp together at Camp Osborn in Worth County. They each earned Eagle Scout designation.
Carroll and VanOteghem were involved in Order of the Arrow Honor Society, and both were on its Ceremony Team. Markette and Carroll faced each other on the football field with Markette playing for Deerfield-Windsor School and Carroll playing for Southland Academy in Americus. Markette and VanOteghem faced each other in math competitions during high school.
Markette of Albany, VanOteghem of Leesburg and Carroll of Americus each graduated from high school in 2008.
Familiar but not best buddies is the best way to describe their relationship. Each of the young men decided individually to attempt to get an appointment to the West Point Military Academy in New York.
Each was successful in getting the coveted appointments and were reunited in 2008 at a "send-off" picnic for new cadets.
Because of the demanding schedule for West Point cadets, the trio did not spend much time together at West Point although they did "hang out every now and then."
The U.S. Military Academy is a four-year college located 50 miles north of New York City. Founded in 1802 as America's first college of engineering, it consistently ranks as one of the top colleges in the nation.
The mission at West Point is to educate, train and inspire cadets for careers of professional service to the U.S. Army and nation.
All three joined the "long gray line" of West Point graduates this past weekend.
Markette earned a degree in U.S. History. VanOteghem received a degree in nuclear physics, and Carroll received a degree in mechanical engineering with emphasis on aeronautics.
Markette is the son of Mary Ellen Markette of Albany and David Markette of Tifton. VanOteghem is the son of Don and Pam VanOteghem of Leesburg. Carroll is the son of John and Beth Carroll of Americus.
All three of the graduates want to become helicopter pilots and have orders to report soon for training at Fort Rucker, Ala.