SHREVEPORT, LA (NNS) -- When 17 year-old David Morgan graduated from Parkway High School in Bossier City, LA, this month, the four-time varsity cross-country and track star had options.
"I had several colleges interested in me running for them with talks of scholarships," said Morgan, "but that didn't really speak to me. I needed more."
Guided by the mantra of running legend and Morgan's personal hero Steve Prefontaine, "to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice your gift," Morgan - a 5-time division champion, 2-time state champion and All-State runner - jogged down to Bossier City's Navy Recruiting Station where he found a new motto to adopt.
"So others may live," said Morgan. "After I read that I thought, 'this is how I can make a difference in a way I never thought possible.' "
Morgan's resolve to join the Naval Special Operations (NSO) community was tested Thurs., June 8, during the regional Physical Screening Test (PST) conducted by Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Houston's Navy Special Warfare (SPECWAR) Scout Team at the new YMCA in Shreveport, LA.
The test allowed more than 40 potential applicants the opportunity to qualify for the national SPECWAR draft in which the top competitors from across the nation are awarded contracts into one of the Navy's five SPECWAR/Special Operations communities - the Navy's Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) teams, Special Warfare Combatant-Craft (SWCC), Navy Diver, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Navy Air Rescue Swimmer (AIRR).
NRD Houston trains nearly 1500 candidates each year with 71 awarded contracts. The candidates must swim 500 meters, complete push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups followed by a 1.5-mile run all within a designated time or number of completed repetitions.
"People come in here and say they want this - they want to do it," said Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Chris Medve from NRD Houston. "So we motivate them. We start training them ... then they quit the next week. This challenge is hard, but not because of the scores needed ... because of the mental fortitude they need to get the scores required, which is way above the minimums. It boils down to a simple question we ask over and over - 'how bad do you want this?'
"I want this more than anything," said Morgan. "Being able to do this will let me save lives. It's special to me. If you are committed to something, the work is a lot easier - and I'm committed."
For more information on the Navy's Special Warfare programs and Navy recruiting, call 1-800-853-6600.
For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Navy Recruiting District Houston, visit www.navy.mil/local/nrdh/.