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Another CMA cadet to get West Point ‘experience’

Jack Furlow inspired by family’s military history

Posted: April 20, 2017 4:52 p.m.
Updated: April 21, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Martin L. Cahn/C-I

Cadet Staff Sgt. Jack Furlow, pictured here in front of Camden Military Academy's (CMA) Cline Chapel, will become the seond consecuive junior from CMA to attend the U.S. Military Academy's Summer Leadership Experience at West Point. The week-long series of seminars will take place June 3-9. Jack hopes to -- as fellow cadet Jake Dean will this fall -- attend West Point after graduating with CMA's class of 2018.

For the second year in a row, a Camden Military Academy (CMA) cadet will attend the U.S. Military Academy’s Summer Leadership Experience (SLE) at West Point in New York. Cadet Staff Sgt. Jack Allen Furlow, 17, will attend the SLE June 3-9, just as fellow CMA cadet Jake Dean did in 2016.

Jack hopes to follow in Jake’s footsteps. Jake received an appointment to West Point earlier this school year and will attend the academy this fall. Both cadets are from the Charlotte, N.C., area.

Jack becomes one of only 1,000 out of more than 5,000 applicants to be allowed on the academy’s campus for the week in June. He will live in the cadet barracks, eat in the cadet mess and participate in various workshops. The seminar is designed to help juniors like Jack not only with their college-selection process, but to give them an idea of how important leadership and decision-making is to their education, careers and lives.

Like many student cadets who attend CMA, Jack never thought about attending a military academy. Since arriving at the school last summer, however, he’s found himself inspired by fellow cadets, his teachers and his own family’s military history.

According to his father, Brian Furlow, Jack’s great-grandfather, Allen John Furlow, served overseas during World War I as a pilot in the Army’s aviation branch and was promoted to first lieutenant. In 1926, 1st Lt. Furlow was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. During his term, he introduced House Joint Resolution 185, which called for a military guard to be posted at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Meanwhile, Jack’s great-great uncle, George Willard Furlow, served as a World War I flying ace, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for “extraordinary heroism” in action near Charev, France. George Furlow was posted to the 103rd Aero Squadron on July 25, 1918, as a SPAD XIII pilot and credited with five aerial victories.

Jack’s grandfather, John Allen Furlow, served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and was stationed on the USS Yorktown, currently docked at Patriot’s Point in Charleston.

Finally, Jack has two aunts who he said both retired from the U.S. Air force, one as a lieutenant colonel, the other as a major.

Despite the various branches of service his family has been involved with, Jack is firmly focused on the Army -- and West Point.

“I’ve never been there, and all the academies are attractive, but I’ve heard people say West Point is like Hogwarts on the Hudson,” Jack said.

He said he is especially interested in firearms, Army aircraft, and military science and technology -- things like M240 machine guns and launchers. But he’s also interested in meeting other cadets like himself, people who might be members of his squad one day.

“I’m interested in being a field specialist,” Jack said. “If I’m accepted to West Point, after graduation, I’d serve for eight years. After that, if I stay with the Army, I’d like to be managing companies and working with my commanders.”

That could be a natural outgrowth of the leadership abilities Jack is already showing after being at CMA for less than a year. As a cadet staff sergeant, he is the leader of the 2nd Squad in CMA’s 1st Platoon. He is also a Band Staff Company flag bearer and public affairs battalion cadet ambassador.

The school’s summer session -- which Jack said isn’t structured quite the same way as the regular school year -- helped him get a head start after spending 9th and 10th grades at Myers Park High School in Charlotte.

“When I came here, it was a culture shock. I wasn’t applying myself (in Charlotte). I wasn’t getting in trouble or anything, but I thought hanging out with my friends was more important than studying. Coming here showed me how important academics are,” Jack said.

He said his mother, Diane, was always impressed by military academies and, as he began struggling in school, spoke to one of her friends. That friend had a son who went to CMA and Jack’s mother began the process of getting him enrolled.

He didn’t want to be at CMA the first two weeks.

“I didn’t want to listen to kids my age telling me what to do, but then I started meeting new kids and once I got in the rhythm and started connecting with people, it got much easier,” he said.

Even so, when asked if he wanted to come back for the full CMA experience last fall, his answer was more along the lines of “I guess” than “Sure!”

“But two weeks into the regular year and I fell in love with this place,” Jack said.

Since then, he has been named to the Dean’s List, ranking in the top 4 percent of his class in terms of grade point average; is a four-time Academic Gold Star Award winner; a Junior Sword Drill nominee; and has won the West Point Leadership, USC Upstate Junior, Lt. Col. Sonny Brown Yearbook and Varsity Cross Country Coach’s awards.

In addition to leading his squad, Jack is the captain of the school’s varsity cross-country team. Although the season ended in December -- “we were never first, but we were never dead last” -- Jack said CMA Dean of Students John Heflin, who served as coach, continued to take care of the team.

Jack is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, plans to be part of the 2017-18 class of Junior Leadership of Kershaw County and will also help out with CMA’s hosting of the Special Olympics today. He also has associations with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

Jack was CMA’s winner of the DAR’s “Voices of Democracy” essay contest with his essay, “My Responsibility to America.” He also works with Heflin on the CMA yearbook, “Excalibur.”

CMA Headmaster Col. Eric Boland called Jack “an outstanding young man.”

“We look forward to him being a senior leader next school year,” Boland said. “If selected to attend, he would be a great addition to the U.S. Military Academy.”

Heflin said Jake helped Jack through the process of applying to attend June’s SLE at West Point.

“We recently went to a West Point presentation at Furman University, and Jake was there letting Jack know what to pay attention to,” Heflin said.

He also said Jack has already taken nine hours of dual-enrollment courses with the University of South Carolina.

“He’s definitely a go-getter. This has totally been his idea to go through the process,” Heflin said of Jake’s desire to attend the SLE session. “We’re just giving all the support we can.”

“I’m excited to go,” Jake said. “I hope it pushes me -- fires me up and boosts my morale -- to drive me towards attending West Point itself.”

 

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