Kenai Legion player follows family footsteps to Army
Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jun 3, 2018
Be all you can be isn’t just a slogan for the U.S. Army, it’s a way of life for Cody Quelland of Soldotna.
Coming from a military household, he was born with discipline in his DNA and an urge to serve his country. He always wanted to follow his family’s footsteps and dreamed of attending a prestigious military academy after graduating high school.
Now 18, Quelland earned his diploma this month and got his wish with an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York.
“The military has always been a big part of my family,” he told me, “with my grandpa, father, brother and countless cousins serving in the Air Force, Coast Guard and Navy. My grandpa, two uncles and my cousin are on a list of Army veterans I hope to join.”
The Kenai Legion Post 20 catcher will play baseball in Alaska until July, when he has to leave for basic training at West Point.
“I don't mind the thought of the military lifestyle,” he said. “West Point will help guide me in the direction that will better myself for my military service as well as my professional career. A military life may sound gruesome to some people but to a person who has lived in small-town Soldotna his whole life, having this level of guidance will surely help me in the long run.”
West Point students must participate in an athletic activity in addition to fulfilling school and military requirements. He plans to play baseball and try other sports such as lacrosse, rugby and paintball. All the while he will take classes and participate in military drills morning, noon and night.
It’s a grueling work load that can sink some cadets but Quelland is confident he will make it because he was raised to conquer challenges, not run from them.
Take baseball. He plays catcher, a demanding and exhausting position that’s not for the faint of heart. It requires durability and demands toughness. Just like the Army.
“I'm willing to do anything and everything for my team,” he said. “Being a team player and leader fits nicely with the military lifestyle. From my family that has served in the military, the one thing that always comes up is the brotherhood that is built between soldiers and the trust that they have in one another. Every person has a responsibility and if they fail at their job, the entire team suffers.”
Quelland graduated Soldotna High with a 4.2 grade-point average. He doesn’t have a set major for college in mind but believes it could be engineering.
“I'm sure West Point will expose me to career field I haven't seen or even considered,” he said. “I see the military as a stepping stone. West Point grants me an education at one of the most prestigious schools in the country, allows me to participate in sports and allows me a job directly out of college. I don't know if I will continue my military service after my five years of required service but it is a possibility.”