AHS, Academy alumnus presents appointment to Bowden

Published 1:52 am Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bowden’s headed to Naval Academy, too

When U.S. Navy Commander Kyle Gantt stood at the podium to present an appointment to the Naval Academy during Andalusia High School’s awards day Friday, it felt familiar.

It was there in 1993 that Gantt, who now spends his days in the Pentagon, was recognized for his own appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. This week, he came home to recognize AHS senior Sim Bowden’s achievement.

“What an honor it was for me to come back to be a part of the appointment for Sim,” Gantt said. “Going to the Naval Academy was a defining point in my life to date. Standing in the exact same spot where I got to receive the appointment and deliver it to Sim was special.”

Gantt said the Academy delivers a “beyond world class education,” but more importantly, those who accept the appointment are choosing a life of service.

“They will serve at least five years in the military,” he said. “They are serving something larger than themselves.”

Gantt said the Naval Academy receives 16,500 applications each year, but accepts just under 1,200. The United States invests more than $400,000 in the education of each of the applicants who receive an appointment.

“That’s quite an investment,” he said. But the nation’s return on investment is great. The Naval Academy has produced leaders for the country both at peace and in war.

Bowden, the son of Ben and Angie Bowden, also was a National Merit Finalist. He told The Star-News earlier this year he has always considered military service, thanks in part to the examples of his father and grandfather. His father is a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and his grandfather, Lawrence Bowden, is a retired colonel with the Alabama National Guard and was the first commander of the 900th Transportation Company.

Long-term, Bowden said, he wants to study law.

Gantt, the son of Kyle and Susan Gantt, earned a bachelor’s degree in history at the Academy, and an M.B.A. from the Naval Postgraduate School with concentration in financial management. At present, he works at the Pentagon as Branch Head for Destroyers and Future Ships. In that role, he is helping to determine the capabilities needed for Naval ships in the future so that they will be appropriately designed.

Gantt is married to the former Bonnie Brannon of Andalusia, and they have two children, Brianna and Evan.