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Best friends get into West Point together

Both dreamed of becoming Army officers

Posted: June 11, 2008 2:20 a.m.
Updated: August 12, 2008 5:02 a.m.

The official West Point appointment letters for Saugus High students Cameron Martin and Andrew Winsick.

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With their cropped red hair and freckles, they could pass for brothers. But the Saugus High School graduates are just two best friends chasing after the same dream.

Cameron Martin, 18, and Andrew Winsick, 17, both recently found out that they have been accepted into West Point, the United States Military Academy.

Cameron found out first because Andrew had to apply for a medical waiver due to his nearsightedness.

Cameron said he knew he was in when he checked the mail one day and saw the "big envelope."

"I was really excited when I saw that it was the big envelope," Cameron said. "Then I had our school formal that night, which was a great way to celebrate."

Meanwhile, Andrew, his friend since fourth grade, was left hanging.

"That month between when he got his (acceptance) and I got mine was just excruciating," Andrew said. He was driving in the car with his mom when his dad called with the news that his big envelope had arrived. "I just got a big smile on my face because it was finally here."

The young men decided to try to get into West Point in tenth grade, with Andrew coming to the decision first, and then talking to Cameron about it.

"It sounded cool, so I thought about it and did some research and I decided I might go to West Point, too," Cameron said.

The two attended a summer leadership program at West Point last summer, which solidified their decision.

"It was awesome. The campus is a Revolutionary War fort, and most of the buildings are made out of stone," Andrew said.

"It's also got a lot of greenery, which is something we don't have around here," Cameron added.

Candidates for West Point must receive a nomination from a member of Congress or from the Department of the Army. Both Cameron and Andrew received nominations from Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon.

Andrew is not sure exactly what he wants to study but is leaning toward engineering.

"I've always been interested in the military, plus West Point has one of the greatest engineering programs in the nation," Andrew said.

Cameron plans to study aviation.

"I plan on flying helicopters in the Army if I can get into that branch," Cameron said. "Then I'll probably just stay in the military."

Cameron and Andrew are scheduled to report to West Point on June 30 for eight weeks of basic training before starting the fall semester. But unless the two friends get into the same platoon or squad, they probably won't be seeing much of one another at West Point. During the summer leadership program, their paths rarely crossed, Andrew said.

"We'll probably get together during our free time," Andrew said.

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