Albuquerque maverick says he wants to fly - Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque maverick says he wants to fly

Thomas Fotter, 20, will be inducted into the U.S. Naval Academy on June 30. The La Cueva High School graduate says he wants to be an aviator in the Navy, like the ones in the “Top Gun” movies. (Courtesy of Jared Whittler)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Thomas Fotter wanted more out of college. He wanted a highway to the danger zone.

So, last year, Fotter, a La Cueva High School graduate who just wrapped up his sophomore year of college, applied to the U.S. Naval Academy. He said he found out in March that he had been accepted and ships out to Annapolis, Maryland, on Wednesday.

“I just felt very, very grateful,” Fotter, 20, said about the moment he found out. “(I’m) still very excited, like a little kid, almost.”

After he’s inducted on June 30, he’ll undergo six weeks of rigorous training as part of “Plebe Summer,” which, according to a news release, will teach him and his fellow Class of 2026 plebes basic seamanship skills and prepare them for four years in the academy.

When he starts classes, he said he plans to continue studying aerospace engineering. He wants to fly in the Navy – just like the aerial aces of the “Top Gun” movies. “Saw that (movie) and was 100% convinced,” he said.

Fotter didn’t always plan on a Navy career. It wasn’t until the summer before his freshman year at Arizona State University that he realized he wanted to change course. But, because he didn’t apply out of high school, he thought he’d missed the boat.

He decided to apply only after a fateful tee time with a Naval Academy alum, who told Fotter he’d transferred in after a couple of years in school. Fotter said he went home and started his application that day.

“I wanted more, I felt like I had a higher purpose, like I wanted to serve and do more with my degree, and then also my career,” he said. “This felt like the perfect place to do so.”

He was nominated to the Naval Academy by U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich.

“I love planes, I love math, I love engineering … and the Naval Academy seems like the best combination of all those things,” Fotter said. “I’m pumped.”

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