Glasgow Courier: Sen. Tester Nominates Two Valley County Students to Military Academies

by Chris McDaniel

After graduating from high school in the Spring of 2022, Dalton Sand of Glasgow and Cole Taylor of Opheim will soon head off to a military academy, thanks to nominations from Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester, and Congressman Matt Rosendale.

“I would like to thank Congressman Matt Rosendale and Sen. Jon Tester for nominating me,” Sand said. “That was a huge milestone in my life.”

A “big thank you to Senator Steve Daines, who has given me a principle nomination for West Point and again to Tester who has given me a competitive nomination to the Air Force Academy and West Point,” Taylor said.

Sand, a senior at Glasgow High School is heavily leaning toward attending the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, while Taylor has chosen the United States Military Academy at West Point. Both had the possibility of attending academies for other military branches.

Tester selected a total of 20 students based on their academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities and commitment to serving and leading in the United States military. To attend the U.S. Military, Naval, Air Force, or Merchant Marine Academies, a student must be nominated by a member of Congress.

“As Montana’s Senior Senator, I’m proud to nominate our state’s gifted young leaders to the country’s most prestigious military academies,” Tester said. “These top-tier students have shown an unmatched work ethic and dedication to serving their country and communities time and time again. Montana’s students are some of the best this country has to offer, and I’m looking forward to watching them become the next generation of America’s military leadership.”

Sand, son of Josh and Ronica, is the State President of Senior Council, State Secretary of Business Professionals of America, National Honor Society, G-Club, Key Club, Trading Card, and Pep Club Member at Glasgow High School. In addition, he has been a varsity basketball, football, track and field, and cross country athlete, which he’s received Academic All State awards for, and is a State Champion swimmer in the 200 I.M., 100 free, and 50 fly swim events. He is also a participant of Boys State and Nation, where he has held various leadership positions, and a member of Glasgow Youth Coalition.

Sand said the athletics programs at the academies were not his deciding factor in choosing schools.

“Athletics for me is not a huge factor,” Sand said.” I just want to serve my country and decide which way is best for me to do that. I think it is more what happens after the academy that means the most to me. If I join the air force, then I have a chance of flying an F-15. If I join the navy, I can be on a ship or an officer in the Navy SEALS.”

Taylor, son of Jay and Nikki, was nominated by Tester to both West Point and the USAF Academy. He attends Opheim High School, where he is holds leadership positions in Student Council, the National Honor Society, and Business Professionals of America. He is also a varsity member of the football, basketball and track and field team. Outside of school, he has participated in Future Farmers of America, which he has competed for at the district and state level, and Boy Scouts.

Taylor has chosen the US Army over the USAF because his father Jay served with that branch for 26 years, and retired as a major.

“Service is something that is very important to me and my family,” Taylor said. “That is the best way to pursue a career in the military. That is what I want to do.”

Jay attended ROTC in college, but Taylor would be the first in his family he is aware of to attend West Point.

Upon graduation from West Point, Taylor is considering the infantry.

“Infantry would be my first choice,” he said. “I think it is the biggest part of the army. That is what they are, boots on the ground. I think that is the part I would fit into. I want to go special forces and pursue that.”

Friendly Competition

Sand and Taylor have been friends since playing together on the Glasgow Middle School basketball team.

“He didn’t have a team in Opheim, so he came to Glasgow to play on the team,” Sand said. “We play track against each other too.”

The two have plenty of fun smack talking on the field and giving each other plenty of friendly competition, they said.

Such competition likely will continue at the academies, especially if one goes army and the other goes navy.

“That is rivalry to the bone, right there,” Taylor said.