Jefferson Veteran Profile: Andrew King

Andrew King will enter the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) Program at Jefferson College in fall 2014, with an anticipated graduation date of December 2015.

He’s as ready for this challenge, as he was for the Navy when he enlisted in 2005. After graduating from Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina with a double major in English and Sports Management, King got an office job, but “I was tired of sitting behind a desk.”

Then 9/11 happened and his future came into focus.

“It was a calling,” King says. “Every male in my family has been in the military. My brother just got back from Afghanistan.”

In high school and college, King had been a wrestler. After enlisting, he would eventually wrestle Somali pirates, which he did when he was stationed Djibouti, Africa, from 2010 to 2012.

In the Navy, King became certified in open-water diving, cave diving and underwater photography, and he trained as a K9 handler. He went from basic training in Illinois to South Carolina, then to Diego Garcia, a small British territory island in the Indian Ocean that served as a staging point for resupplying submarines.

Djibouti was next, a strategic point between Ethiopia and Somalia where he was assigned to be protection for visiting dignitaries as well as an armed escort. He was also attached to the Navy Seal team was involved in a Somali pirate hijacking of a ship.

King returned to Virginia after his eight years in the Navy, and soon was employed as an anesthesia technician at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

“I’ve seen some cool surgeries, met cool people,” he said.

He has worked weekends at CRMH while mastering the prerequisites at Jefferson. And, King was accepted to both the College’s Physician Assistant and ABSN programs.

He chose the ABSN program, he explained, because he felt it had so many different avenues that he could take, such as a becoming a military RN or being assigned to a cardiac surgery intensive care unit.

Whatever his path, he said that the military honed his natural leadership ability.

“I have always been able to talk to and direct people. I’m good at synchronizing and prioritizing. And I’m driven,” he said.  “The military guided me in the right direction. I have more of a grasp of who I am now.”

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