Backward wants more Cherokees at Naval Academy

BY GRANT NEUGIN
Reporter
01/10/2019 08:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Coby Backward
SALINA – Second-Class Midshipman Coby Backward of Salina is a junior attending the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

The Cherokee Nation citizen knew in high school he wanted to join the military but was never given much information. He said he did his own research to learn which branch would fit him the best. After graduating from Salina High School in 2016, he joined the Navy.

“Information for joining the military is not very well known in the Salina community,” Backward, who was home during the Christmas holiday, said. “I wanted to visit home so I can do my best to reach out to the Cherokee community and talk about the Navy.”

Backward said his goal is to reach other Cherokees to let them know the opportunities the Navy can provide. During his Christmas break, Backward visited schools and talked to media outlets. He said he’s able to do this through the Navy’s Outlook Program, which helps the Navy get exposure in communities where it has little or none.

“There are tons of options for your future if you join the U. S. Naval Academy,” said Backward. “You can graduate through many services such as submarine, aviation and the Marine Corps.”

The Naval Academy provides a free education with all expenses paid. Those who become midshipmen will receive $1,o87.80 per month, which covers the cost of laundry, barber, a cobbler, activity fees, yearbook and other services. Midshipmen also receive a monthly allowance of $100 in cash that will increase every year, and a job will be guaranteed for them upon graduation. All of these benefits are included in midshipmen’s experience in return for five years of active duty service upon graduation.

Backward will graduate the Naval Academy in 2020, and would like to receive a commission from the academy as an officer in the Marine Corps.

“The minimum required years of service after graduation is five, but I’m not sure yet if I will get out after five years or stay in longer. That decision is farther down the road,” he said. “The Naval Academy has provided me with the leadership capabilities that will enable me to be successful in the military and my career after. Also, the people you meet during your four years here and the opportunities presented are amazing.”

For more information, contact a local recruiter or visit the U.S. Naval Academy website www.usna.edu.
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