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Smythe completes training at West Point

Connor Smythe, a 2014 graduate of Park Rapids Area High School, is looking forward to flying helicopters with the Army. He graduated this spring from West Point with a degree in law and legal studies and was assigned to the aviation branch of the...

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The West Point graduation was May 25. The officer shaking Connor Smythe's hand was West Point superintendent Lieutenant General Darryl A. Williams. (Submitted photos)

Connor Smythe, a 2014 graduate of Park Rapids Area High School, is looking forward to flying helicopters with the Army.

He graduated this spring from West Point with a degree in law and legal studies and was assigned to the aviation branch of the Army.

"That means I will be leaving for Ft. Rucker, Ala. at the end of the summer to start flight school," he said.

While at West Point, Smythe participated in the international military Sandhurst Competition. "I was an instructor and eventually captain of the SCUBA team as well, which is a small team that teaches and certifies other cadets to SCUBA dive," he said. "As part of our training, we took several trips to the Caribbean and I was lucky enough to spend time in Mexico, Belize, the Dominican Republic and St. Lucia. We also spent one weekend a year in Key West, Fla. doing training dives."

West Point also sent Smythe to military schools, including airborne school at Ft. Benning, Ga., a basic military mountaineering course in Alaska, and an internship with an aviation unit in Ft. Lewis, Wash.

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"Additionally, I was selected to attend a summer training in England with the Sandhurst Academy, which is Britain's equivalent to West Point," he said. "While there, we got to tour London, Windsor Castle and do a week-long training exercise in Germany, which was the culminating event for the graduating Sandhurst class."

When not training, Smythe said he enjoys playing guitar, reading and working out. "I also enjoy fishing and hunting when I have the time, but the past four years have been rather busy and I have not been able to get out much," he said.

At Park Rapids High School, Smythe was on the football team. He also set three school records in swimming, qualifying for the state swim meet four years in a row and earning All-State honors once.

"I was very involved with the choir and academics, participating in the National Honor Society and attending All-State Choir between my junior and senior years," he said. "I was very involved with Calvary Lutheran Church and went on summer mission trips to Hollywood, New York City and Chicago. I also volunteered with Vacation Bible School and during high school I worked as a lifeguard and as a cook at Summerhill Farm."

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Connor Smythe, second from right, celebrated his graduation from West Point with his sister Keegan Smythe, mom Kristi Smythe and dad Jon Smythe.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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