A Wisconsin Dells High School senior will be attending the United States Military Academy at West Point starting in July to become an infantry officer.

PJ Flock Jr., whose initials are short for Peter Joseph, said he wanted to go into the military since he was 4 or 5 years old.

His mother, Michele Flock, said his interest in the military started even earlier.

“He’d always wanted to go into the Army, into the military, since he was 3 years old,” she said.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” she said of his acceptance to the academy. She said few people are selected to go and the nation’s elite government officials, astronauts and presidents are graduates from West Point.

PJ said his role models are World War II General George Patton, his grandmother who said if going into the military was his goal that West Point was the place to go and his aunt, who was a nurse in the military.

It was a lengthy application process, but now PJ has fully paid tuition to attend the academy.

PJ said in the beginning of his junior year he started the application and he finished it in four months.

“It was quite the process,” he said.

PJ said he thought he stood out from other candidates because he was president of Interact Club and Spanish Club. He made First Team All-Conference as an outside linebacker in football in the South Central Conference and was captain of the football team. He was a representative for student council and was a member of the National Honor Society.

He feels the number of activities in which he participated while maintaining good grades helped him get accepted.

He said he has a 3.75 grade point average and scored a 27 on the ACT.

He said he performed well for the physical test, scoring the highest possible on two events on the test that overall entailed two minutes of push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, a mile run, basketball throw from the knees and shuttle run.

West Point is in the state of New York, and PJ said he will be able to cope well being far from the people he knows.

“It’s a long way, but I think I can handle it. I think I’m a pretty responsible person. It will be all right. I’ll miss my family. I have a lot of sisters, a lot of cousins, relatives that I’ll miss, friends especially. But it will be that much sweeter once I come home and get to see everyone,” he said.

PJ has five sisters and two stepsisters.

He plans to come back to Wisconsin Dells, where he has lived his whole life, after he serves in the military. The initial commitment he has is to serve five years of active duty and three years in reserves, or a total of eight years.

After that, he said he might stay in service for 20 years to receive pension and retirement benefits.

At the same time he will be training to be an infantry officer, he will be studying civil engineering, he said. But he said it is more likely he will serve as an infantry officer after his training at West Point.

PJ said his experience taking advanced placement calculus has helped him take responsibility and accountability for his work.

PJ received nominations from U.S. Congressional representatives. Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin was one source of a nomination.

“The caliber of young people who apply to attend our nation’s military academies is impressive. I am honored to have the responsibility of nominating these outstanding students to serve their country,” Baldwin said in a written statement. “I was pleased to nominate Peter to the United States Military Academy at West Point. His many academic achievements, leadership experience and motivation to succeed make him an excellent candidate for West Point and will clearly help him thrive at school and in his future career.”

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, Wisconsin 2nd District, said in a written statement, “It was an honor to nominate PJ Flock to the United States Military Academy at West Point. I am thrilled to hear that PJ has been selected by the Academy as a member of its class of 2018. PJ is a stellar candidate due to his leadership experience, service to others in his community and achievements in academics and athletics. I am confident that PJ will take advantage of all the opportunities offered to him at the Academy and continue to meet any challenges he encounters head on. He is exactly the type of motivated young person that will excel at the Academy and be an exemplary leader in the United States Army. I congratulate PJ on his achievement and commend his commitment to serve our nation.”

Reporter, photographer for Reedsburg Times-Press and Wisconsin Dells Events

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