When Lance Webster graduated from Windham High School four years ago, he knew he eventually wanted to be in the military, but the way to get there was still not clear. He enrolled at Norwich University when it met all of his requirements, which were military, swim team and get out of Maine. After two years he got a contract to be in the basic ROTC, which guaranteed that he’d become an officer in the Navy, he said.
“I wanted to go travel around the world and be on a ship,” he said.
Webster majored in athletic training with a minor in health. He won’t use the degree he earned much while in the Navy, he said. “They put you where the need you.”
While at Norwich, he said his most important lesson that he learned was time management. “I was the operations and training office for my senior year. It was a lot of planning,” he said. He led physical fitness, parades and ceremonies for school and did tri-athlete events like the sophomore FTX.
“There are 1,500 cadets. My job was to make sure they all do what they’re supposed to be doing in front of the general in the real Navy,” Webster said.
His swim career started off with a bang his freshman year, where he won first place at the New England competition in the mile swim. His sophomore year he swam, but then skipped his junior year due to his class schedule and went back his senior year.
Webster was supported by his parents Tammy and Kevin Webster and his brother Lyle. Kevin was in the Navy and did surface duty (not in a submarine), which gave Lance the feel for the military and the Navy.
Webster graduated on May 9th cum laude and was commissioned on May 10th. Of the 500 students who started as freshmen, under 200 graduated and 80 were commissioned, Webster said. He is now an ensign.
“Dad’s excited about me being an officer. He saluted me first,” Webster said. At Norwich there is a tradition where the first salute for an officer has to be paid for by the officer. Webster gave his father a silver dollar from Webster’s birth year to pay for the salute. The saying is “you pay for the first salute – the rest are earned.”
On June 1, Webster left for Virginia where he will be stationed on the CG 72 Vella Gulf, a guided cruise missile ship, where he will work hopefully with combat systems. “It’s really interesting,” he said. He worked on the combat systems during his junior year summer cruise on the USS Summerset. He has a five year commitment to the Navy, but he plans to go career military.
He got a new car for graduation and he has rented a house in Virginia with two other ensigns.
“Apparently I need to learn how to play golf,” he said with a laugh. He’s anxious to get started… on his career and the golf.