After completing his first year at the Naval Academy, Scott Whitley found out his younger brother Joseph was accepted at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
"Poor kid," Scott Whitley joked.
Army and Navy are natural rivals, and the Havelock brothers admit they will continue a bit of their sibling rivalry when Joseph heads to West Point in the fall. After all, Joseph had always been an N.C. State fan, while Scott favored UNC.
"We give each other a lot of jokes," Joseph said. "I was an N.C. State fan and he was a UNC fan, so we always had a rivalry between schools. I’m glad to see it’s going to continue on through the academies."
Scott Whitley said he was looking forward to some friendly competition.
"It’s going to be a good rivalry for the next few years, me and Joe at every Army-Navy game, and our parents will have a good jab at us, too," he said. "It’s going to be a good household rivalry."
Despite the joking, Joseph gave a lot of credit to his older brother.
"He was a very big influence," he said. "He started going to some sports camps at the Naval Academy and that got me interested in the military academies. I applied to all five of them just to keep my options open. I realized it’s a great opportunity for an excellent education and a guaranteed job afterwards."
And, Scott Whitley said he was proud of his brother for his accomplishments.
"I’m really happy for Joe," he said. "Going to West Point is such a big deal. It’s one of the top service academies, so I’m happy for him."
Joseph, who will graduate from Havelock High School on Saturday, said he had an opportunity to visit West Point.
"It was very impressive," he said. "West Point’s campus looks very much like a castle from outside."
He said he was worried about getting an appointment considering federal budget cuts and sequestration.
"I’m just glad I get to go to school with a lot of great people that have a great work ethic and a great drive to success," he said.
He said he is interested in military aviation and has been taking helicopter flying lessons for about nine months.
"I’ve always been interested in the physics of aircraft," he said. "I find the machines completely fascinating in how they work and the principles of aerodynamics that keeps them in the sky."
Before that, he’ll face his plebe year, when first-year students at the academies are toughened by the older students.
"I understand it’s a very stressful experience," he said. "But, they designed it that way to make sure all the officers are effective under pressure and that everyone works well with one another so that they have the proper training when they graduate."
Scott Whitley said he wasn’t sure if he could offer any help to his brother about that first year at the academy.
"Plebe year is plebe year," he said. "Maybe I can haze him some at home."
Joseph Whitley was a member of the Havelock High swim team and also is an Eagle Scout. He said balancing school work with extracurricular activities proved difficult at times in his four years at the school.
"Trying to juggle all those at the same time has helped me become a more well-rounded person," he said. "I’m better for it and I’m glad the academies motivated me to help me accomplish that."
He thanked friends, school faculty and family for helping him get to West Point.
"Without them, I don’t think any of this would have been possible," he said.