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Hoffner at Annapolis 1983

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Mary S Taylor

Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 28018
Location: Fresno, CA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:33 pm    Post subject: Hoffner at Annapolis 1983 Reply with quote

Pacific Grove Tribune, CA June 15, 1983
Yo Hoffner, The Right Stuff
Yo Hoffner wants to fly. In fact, he wants so much to fly that he has willingly committed at least nine of his post-high school years to the U.S. navy. As a recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., the Pebble Beach resident is halfway through that commitment, though he’s still not sure he’ll get to fly. Hoffner, 22, graduated from the academy last month before coming home to visit with his family. On June 27, he reports to the naval Air Station Moffett Field as a newly-commissioned ensign. “I have no training. I’m just stashed there,” Hoffner says, grinning at this new duty prospects. “I have absolutely no training; I’m about as worthless as you can get. But I heard if you keep your eyes and ears open, you can learn a lot of things on temporary duty.” Thus, he plans to keep his eyes and ears on the pilots, to pick up scraps of information that will help him toward a lifetime goal. “Ever since I was little, I’ve liked airplanes. When I got into junior high school (at Pacific Grove Junior High, now the Middle School), it became an obsession,” he says. He discussed his dream with his parents, Alford and Tomoko Hoffner. The former is a retired Army major; he counseled his son to enter the military, to obtain the kind of special training necessary for a pilot. The younger Hoffner says his decision also was influenced by a neighbor who worked at the Naval Postgraduate School. Through that contact, Hoffner met several navy pilots. By the time he graduated from Pacific Grove High in 1979, the path to his goal seemed clear. Not that the next four years were easy. Students in service academies experience a great deal of academic and personal pressure. “I do admit there were times when I was … depressed., but overall, it was a great experience.” Hoffner says. “During my first year, I got homesick. I think that it was because it was my first time being away from home for a long time. During the first year, your plebe year, you’re under a lot of pressure.” Some of that pressure included the two courses in electrical engineering, the course in thermodynamics, the introduction to Naval architecture and the year each of physics and chemistry he was required to take. “I enjoyed calculus in my freshman year. Math has been a strong point with me throughout my high school years. I was always in advanced classes,” says he. “But I didn’t became a math major, I was a business major instead … I felt it’s a very versatile degree to have,” particularly when it’s combined with engineering courses, he says. With all that emphasis, he had little time left to pursue favorite leisure activities, like football, swimming, guitar-playing and reading. Though he was on both the swim and football teams at PGHS, injuries and schoolwork prevented him from participating in those sports in Annapolis. His athletic endeavors were limited to intramural sports, instead. Pressure notwithstanding, he has enjoyed the last four years. .”One of the biggest things I really enjoyed about the naval Academy was that they put you in situations where you have to help each other out. You become good friends,” he says. “The friends I’ve made at the naval Academy will be my friends forever .. I think the whole environment at the Naval Academy … just brings everybody closer together, because of all the harassment and negative things they throw at you to try to build your character,” he says. Of the entire four year experience, the best and most exciting event was graduation. “It’s a week-long celebration. There are dances and private parties every night. I thought I didn’t get enough sleep during finals, but this was worse!” Among the naval Academy graduation traditions is the climb up Herndon Monument, which has been specially greased for the occasion.l At the top of the monument sits a sailor hat with blue ribbons, which plebes wear during summer orientation. As a group, the graduating class forms a pyramid to reach the top and replace the sailor hat with more dignified headgear. “One person cannot do it alone,” Hoffner notes. “When I was part of that, I had a grand time. I was really amazed at how a group of people … can just get together and pull toward a common goal. It’s really a beautiful thing that I never realized before.” Now that that’s behind him – and still a part of him – he can look forward to the coming six months at Moffett Field. There he’ll stay until the next flight school starts in January at Pensacola, Fla. “Since I’m going to be in flight school, I still have aspirations to become a jet pilot. To get jets once you’re in flight school, you have to do well there, so it’s not a promise. It I get jets, I’ll go career military. Otherwise, who knows,” he says. For those Pacific Grove High School seniors who will enter military academies this year, Hoffner has a little advice. “You’re not a normal kid if you don’t want to quit sometime along the way. But it you quit, you’re making a big mistake. I looked at the naval Academy as a stepping stone in getting to my ultimate goal. If I quit or failed out, I would have failed my goal. I couldn’t do that.” Then he relates an incident that occurred at the end of his first year. One of the graduating seniors came in after a party and began talking to Hoffner and his friends. The young fellow told them, “Hey, there’s nothing better than what I feel right now.” Says Hoffner, “I kind of kept that in mind.”
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