STEUBENVILLE - Retired U.S. Army Capt. Joan Anliker will sit down with a Steubenville High School junior and his parents tonight to talk about applying for an appointment to the West Point Military Academy.
"I will ask him what he needs from me and I'll try to give him some pointers. I will do my best to see he does what he wants to do," Anliker said.
Anliker, a Steubenville native, serves as a liaison officer for West Point in the Great Lakes region.
DISCUSSING WEST POINT — Retired U.S. Army Capt. Joan Anliker shows off the West Point informational kit she uses when meeting with area students. Anliker serves as a liaison officer for the Great Lakes region for the West Point Military Academy. - Dave Gossett
"I served in the United States Army in 1990 during Desert Storm. I was 49 years old and the Army recruited me to serve as a nurse anesthetist. I thought I would go right into a medical unit but first I underwent the normal Army basic training and special training before I was sent to military hospitals to take care of young men and women. The Army gave me great training," recalled Anliker.
"I signed on for eight years and stayed on for 14 years before returning to civilian work. Then in 1995 I was asked to be a liaison offer for the Great Lakes region. West Point felt we had some of the best young men and women for West Point but they were left behind. The Army wanted me to help concentrate on working with young men and women in Eastern Ohio to help them look at West Point," explained Anliker.
"Since 1995 I have assisted 10 young men and women to enter the academy," she added.
"I talk to students at all area high schools as well as middle schools. The youngest grade I meet with are eighth-grade students. I try to teach them that if they have any interest in West Point, now is the time to start preparing. The junior year in high school is too late to try to improve their grades and start performing community service. The students really need to start younger," Anliker said.
"I'll be talking to Harding eighth-grade students soon. During the talks I introduce myself, discuss my military career and tell them what they need to concentrate on if they want to consider attending West Point. I also tell them West Point is a liberal arts college. And that West Point gets about 5,000 applications a year but they only accept 1,250 applicants a year," Anliker noted.
"The student completes the application process and I assist them in whatever way I can. I advise the students to visit West Point. I also advise them the admissions staff looks at community service and involvement in athletics and other extracurricular activities," remarked Anliker.
"Cadets at West Point are trained to be leaders. This is like applying to a large university, and this school prepares students for a career. After graduating from West Point the young man or woman must serve five years in the military. But a number of graduates stay in the military," cited Anliker.
Anliker said her West Point liaison work is part-time.
"I currently practice nurse anesthesia at the Valley Surgery Center in Steubenville. But I enjoy working with young people and helping those interested in West Point to prepare their applications. I do this in my free time," she commented.
"There is no retirement age for this job. I will continue working as a liaison officer as long as the Army wants me to. I am a very patriotic person who loves my country. I entered the Army later in life, but I want to help young men and women with an interest in West Point to achieve their goals. If they are not appointed to the military academy they can join an ROTC at a university or college they attend or can attend a military prep school in order to pursue an appointment to West Point," the 73-year-old Anliker said.
"An applicant to West Point must be nominated by a U.S. senator or representative or even by the president. I just try to help the students to qualify for an appointment," stated Anliker.