SM Rotary Sends Off Academy Appointees With Praise, Advice

Photo by Erin Rodick / OUTLOOK Lawrence Spicer (from left) Jordan Yriarte, Lenning Davis, Capt. Jinsuk Yum, Nicole Agbob and Charles Cathel were part of Rotary Club of San Marino’s Salute to Academy Appointees program. Yum spoke to recognize the perseverance of the high school graduates who were appointed to U.S. military academies.
Photo by Erin Rodick / OUTLOOK
Lawrence Spicer (from left) Jordan Yriarte, Lenning Davis, Capt. Jinsuk Yum, Nicole Agbob and Charles Cathel were part of Rotary Club of San Marino’s Salute to Academy Appointees program. Yum spoke to recognize the perseverance of the high school graduates who were appointed to U.S. military academies.

When Capt. Jinsuk Yum chose to enlist in the U.S. Army in 1999 as an 18-year-old fresh out of high school, he wasn’t sure where the decision would take him.
Nearly two decades later, the journey has included earning a bachelor’s degree in Mandarin Chinese from West Point, two overseas deployments and, currently, commanding the Los Angeles U.S. Army Recruiting Co.
“It’s been the best ride of my life so far,” he said last week, speaking at the annual Rotary Club of San Marino Salute to the Appointees to U.S. Service Academies program.
The Rotary Club has for 13 years held this event as a recognition of local high school graduates who are appointed to these military service academies, with help from their congressional representatives.
Yum, whose family immigrated to Alaska from South Korea after first fleeing North Korea and fighting in the Korean War, said he would be frank to the group of appointees and assured them their time at the academy was likely to be tougher than anything they’ve done before, full of late nights of secretive studying past curfew and moments of wondering what they’re even doing.
“Remember that it is your hard work that got you here,” he said. “You get accepted to the academies because of how well-rounded you are. Trudge forward knowing that we see [leadership] potential in you.”
In attendance were appointees by Congresswoman Judy Chu (whose district includes San Marino). They include Charles Cathel (West Point, from Glendora) and Lenning Davis IV (U.S. Naval Academy, from Claremont), and also appointees by Congressman Grace Napolitano, including Nicole Agob (U.S. Air Force Academy, from Azusa), Lawrence Spicer (Air Force Academy, from Monrovia) and Jordan Yriarte (U.S. Coast Guard Academy, from West Covina).
“For decades, these academies have all provided an outstanding education,” Chu said at the event. “Some of our greatest leaders have come from the academies. Attending one of these academies is a distinct honor.”
Rotary Club of San Marino has held this event annually for 13 years, beginning when San Marino resident and Rotarian Jim Nash’s son was appointed to West Point.
“I’m so glad to see that it has continued,” Nash said last week.
Yum, who earlier in his career was deployed in Kuwait and Afghanistan, currently oversees four Army recruiting offices in Burbank, Pasadena and Los Angeles. Speaking more informally from a prepared speech, he hoped to emphasize the work required of the appointees while also encouraging them to put their best foot forward for the unique opportunity.
“As we say colloquially, it’s going to suck a lot of the time, but you have to embrace the suck,” he said.

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