Olympic Athlete Joins Navy, Fulfills Lifelong Dream

Story Number: NNS090421-05Release Date: 4/21/2009 12:26:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David McKee, Navy Recruiting District Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (NNS) -- A former Olympian joined the U.S. Navy and departed for Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, R.I. April 19.

Larsen Jensen, who won a silver medal in swimming during the Olympics Games in Athens in 2004 and a bronze medal during the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, was sworn into the Navy during a ceremony at Navy Recruiting District Los Angeles Headquarters.

"I've been tremendously blessed. I've gone to a great university. I've gone to the Olympics. Now I want to give back to the country that has been so generous to me with opportunities," said Jensen, a Bakersfield, California native and graduate of the University of Southern California.

Jensen will face 12 weeks of physically and mentally challenging training.

"The constant state of stress that begins the moment a prospective officer candidate arrives on deck, continues to the moment they take the oath to become a United States Navy officer," said Lt. j.g. Sarah Sirkin, a graduate of OCS who currently serves aboard USS Anzio (CG 68). "You can be a star college athlete or a nuclear scientist and there is no guarantee that you will even make it to day three of training. Only the very best will be invited to commissioning day," said Sirkin.

"I fully understand this will be a tremendous task, and I hope my Olympic training can help me at Officer Candidate School," said Jensen.

After OCS, Jensen hopes to go to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training.

Almost 100 men applied to become a SEAL officer. Of those, 38 were selected for the board and out this six were selected to go on the BUD/S.

Unlike the nuclear officer, civilian and chaplain programs, there is no SEAL (Sea, Air and Land) officer program. Both enlisted and officers attend BUD/S.

"Becoming a SEAL in the officer community isn't an easy task," said Officer Recruiter Chief Navy Counselor (SW) Robert Weekes.

"Ascension to the wardroom in the SEAL community is more prominent than in most ratings, so it is very competitive," Weekes said.

But between the first day (of BUD/S) and the day he pins a gold trident above the left pocket of his uniform, Jensen knows the rigors of Rhode Island are still ahead.

"I am taking a very narrow view of the big picture. I am going to remain focused on going one step at a time," Jensen said.

For more news from Navy Recruiting District Los Angeles, visit www.navy.mil/local/nrd-la/.

Students in the third phase of the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL school (BUDS) repel down a 60-foot tower in Coronado.
Official U.S. Navy file photo.
July 9, 2008
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