Jerry Blaine Bastin has had high hopes and ambitions for as long as his mother, Mitzi, can remember. The son of Mitzi and Eric Bastin, Blaine began planning his future at a young age. That planning has paid off, as Blaine will be attending the United States Military Academy at West Point beginning the fall of 2017.

Mitzi recalls that Blaine began talking about joining the military while in elementary school.

Blaine says he first contacted West Point after visiting their website in sixth grade. At that time, he stated his interest in attending the school and requested advice on how to achieve that goal.

An adviser from West Point answered that email and set Blaine on the course to where he is now.

Blaine recalls the email advice telling him to take as many AP classes as possible, as well as to engage in sports, before wishing him luck.

In his four years at Muscatine High School, Blaine was able to complete five years of math courses and four each of science, social studies, and a foreign language, Chinese. In addition to academics, Blaine participated in track, football, baseball, and basketball. He also plays the guitar and violin.

Blaine applied to West Point with hopes of attending directly after graduation from MHS in 2016.

After not being accepted at West Point initially, Blaine was accepted to Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, where he began participating in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). Blaine once again distinguished himself from the group.

He began the application process again. During the process, each applicant must apply for a nomination from their representatives in Congress. Each year, more than 10,000 candidates apply to West Point, but only about 4,000 receive nominations.

Blaine received nominations from Senator Chuck Grassley, Senator Joni Ernst, and Congressman Loebsack.

Blaine will be moving to campus in July, after completing his second semester at ISU. While he will complete the semester, Blaine explains that none of his work will carry over. “All of my credits will reset. Everyone enters on the same level.”

Blaine Bastin participates in a training exercise with Iowa State University ROTC

When asked how he will stay motivated to complete the semester knowing that all of the work will be wiped away, Blaine says ROTC makes all the difference. “ROTC really motivates you. Every day, people are counting on you. They check on your grades and your performance in other areas as well, so that helps to make me want to finish strong.”

Even though the process has been a lengthy one, Blaine says it is all worth it. “I have always wanted to be in the Army. I’ve always wanted to be a leader. I want to be a strong leader so that I can be an example of what God can do.”

After graduation, Blaine will have earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. At that time, he will begin a five-year contract with the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant.