BLUEFIELD, VA (WVNS) — Protect and serve. That is the path many Americans around the country decide to take in life.
For some, this is a decision they make when they are younger. For others, it takes a little bit of time. For one Bluefield, VA, native, time is exactly what she needed.
“Five years ago, I did not see myself being here. So it is a good, I wouldn’t say surprise, but I just did not expect it,” Kristen Compton said.
Kristen Compton recently graduated from Officer Candidate School out of Newport, RI, and will be joining the Navy as a Commissioned Officer.
“I just thought about how good of an opportunity I would have by joining the Navy, and how you can join as an officer once you have your degree. So, I started pursuing this at the end of my junior year of college,” Compton said. “I connected with a recruiter, and then I was accepted to come last fall. That is when I knew.”
While the opportunity to join the Navy was not always in her plans, it is something she is very proud to be doing while representing her hometown.
“I don’t know of any Naval officers, at least since I’ve been there, that have come from Bluefield, so this will be a good start and a good representation,” Compton said. “I am very honored to represent my country as well.”
Not everyone is cut out for Officer Candidate School, you have to have grit and dedication to make it through and graduate.
“It teaches you discipline, especially during the indoctrination phase,” Compton said. “From the very beginning, it is just really hammered in from procedures: the way that you hold your tray at chow, the way that you sit in your chair, the way you address any staff member, has to be by the guidelines of the officer candidate regulation. You just learn to go by that and to not do your own thing and be an individual. You have to be a team player.”
Kristen grew up a triplet and her sisters, Kara and Kaleigh, played a big role in her decision to apply to OCS.
“She is the most determined person I have ever met. If you tell her she can’t do something, she is like ‘alright BET.’ She always has worked really hard,” Kaleigh Fourie said.
Kristen said she owes a lot to both of her sisters, but Kaleigh was incredibly encouraging with her decision to attend Officer Candidate School.
“I lived in West Virginia when I got out of college for a few months, so I got to be with Kayleigh. She was always very encouraging, so I owe a lot to her.” Compton said.
While she will be missed by her hometown and family, it is people like Kristen who remind us freedom is not free.
“I am just really proud of her. I am going to miss her so much, but she’s got a good heart, and I know she is doing it for really good reasons,” Fourie said.
Kristen is currently stationed in California and will soon be transferred to Japan.