One Mission Accomplished for Thomas Jackson

In eighth grade, Thomas Jackson told his parents he wanted to serve the nation as an officer in the military. 

“Every decision he’s made was aimed toward this,” said his dad, Christopher Jackson of Forestville. 

The Southern Door County High School senior is on his way to achieving that goal. U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) successfully nominated Jackson for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. His report date is July 1.

Thomas’s dad and mom, Mary, embraced his goal.

“Certainly we support the steps it took to get there with extracurriculars and academics,” Christopher said. “Having this as a goal would have helped him get accepted into just about any college.”

Thomas set up a regimen for academics and more to prepare.

“If I weren’t intending to go to West Point, maybe physical fitness would be less a part of my life,” Thomas said. “For example, I have a pull-up bar in the hallway and every time I walk past I do pull-ups. And sometimes I just drop down and do a set of 50 pushups. Making physical fitness very easily accessible in my home has helped with that.”

Speak with Thomas one time, and it’s impossible not to notice the clarity of his speech. That’s intentional.

“I think that does originate with my parents, who are both very well-spoken,” Jackson said. 

He also keeps in mind that West Point graduates come out as commissioned officers. 

“Knowing how to speak clearly is very important because you have to be able to express actual mission parameters and commanders’ intent to your soldiers, and if you don’t do that clearly, it can be a life-or-death situation very easily for the troops that you’re leading,” Thomas said. “It’s definitely going to be important in my life going forward.”

Thomas took the most demanding, pertinent courses he could in high school. As of this winter, he had a 4.0 grade-point average. Southern Door does not have weighted grades, so that’s a perfect, straight-A GPA. He also has real-life work experience through a summer 2022 job at Hatco. He couldn’t dedicate himself to a full-time summer job in 2023 due to the campus visits, football and Boys State, but he mowed and did outdoor work for his church, St. Peter’s Lutheran, while also fulfilling cleaning-contractor duties there with his sisters, Elise, 15, and Violet, 13.

He’s considering a major in biology or kinesiology at West Point, but also loves his Spanish classes and the advanced math courses available at Southern Door.

“I’m also very interested in the Defense and Strategic Studies major at West Point,” he said.

Between his junior and senior years, he visited the Naval Academy and West Point. He attended Summer Leaders Experience, which solidified his preference for West Point and the Army.

“West Point is a beautiful campus,” Thomas said. “They’re in the mountains. It’s a lot like Door County. There’s water nearby. It’s pretty separate from other areas. It’s rural.”

But he also liked meeting so many impressive, hard-working, motivated young people.

“I want to be with more people like that,” he said.

Why does he prefer the Army?

“I think the Army’s set of missions and the domain in which it operates attract me more than either Navy or Air Force,” Thomas said. “I’d rather be doing land warfare.”

He chose this pathway as his passion grew for protecting “the freedoms America offers us that are very distinct and unique from other countries.”

“We have those freedoms because of the brave men and women who have fought for our United States already, and we need people to continue to protect all of those freedoms,” he said.