Filipino West Point graduate on dreams of making a difference in the Philippines

President Donald Trump made it a point to tell the U.S. military academy graduating class of 2020 at West Point that the job of a U.S. soldier is not to rebuild war-torn nations but to defend America strongly from foreign enemies.

“We are not the policemen of the world. But let our enemies be of notice: if our people are threatened we will never, ever hesitate to act. And when we fight, from now on, we will only fight to win.”

Among more than 1,000 graduates this year is Jesson Penaflor, who finished with a Bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering.

After spending one year as a plebe in the Philippine Military academy in 2015, Penaflor joined the U.S. Military Academy at West Point via the foreign service academy program.

After four years, the 24-year-old Bukidnon-born and raised Pinoy is now a commissioned second Lieutenant.

“It was surreal. I couldn’t believe it. It hasn’t sunk in that I have graduated.”

Penaflor clarified his degree has nothing to do with nuclear wars or nuclear weapons, but it could potentially be the future power source in the Philippines.

“We mostly study the use of nuclear energy, so power plants, shieldings, how to shield nuclear weapons.”

Penaflor is inspired by other Filipino West Point graduates — who came home to make a difference in the homeland — among them former Philippine president Fidel V Ramos.

He said, there is no harm in aiming for the highest military rank possible – his ultimate dream is to also become the commander-in-chief of the Philippines.

And if ends up in that position, he plans to empower Filipino personnel, and provide free college tuition to those who enlist in the Philippine military — in the same way it’s done in the U.S.

Penaflor admitted that he is years and years away from making all his dreams come true – but he knows that hard work and discipline will ultimately get him there.

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  • Ramon
    22 June 2020 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Congrats 2nt Lt. J. Penaflor. Big asset to the Philippines, not only in the military but for the whole country.

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