Civil engineering senior Willie Hennings is the first in his family to join the United States Navy. With three uncles experienced in the U.S. Air Force, and grandfathers in the U.S. Army National Guard, becoming part of the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps is full circle for Hennings.
Hennings was sworn into the U.S. Navy by retired Navy Civil Engineer Corps Officer and CCEE Lecturer Beth Hartmann at 1:30 p.m. March 26 in Gold Star Hall in Memorial Union.
In July 2013 Hennings will begin his training. For 12 weeks he will attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, R.I. He then must train 13 weeks at Civil Engineer Corps Officers School (CECOS) in Port Hueneme, Calif. Beyond that Hennings will serve at least four years in contract management, public works and SEABEES (Navy construction) roles throughout the U.S. Navy civil engineering sector.
“This is a great opportunity to excel at both serving my country and engineering career,” Hennings said. “It’s an honor to be able to do this.”
His family was there March 26 to witness the ceremony, including his father, Todd. “This is something that Willie has wanted to pursue since he was little. Whatever he can do to serve his country, and through whatever career path, he really looks forward to,” Todd said. He thanks Hartmann for encouraging his son to pursue the U.S. Navy while staying on the engineering track.
His mother, Cheryl, said that Hennings always is one to go “110 percent” with an engineering mindset. As a native of Elberon, Iowa, he didn’t need to go far to take advantage of it. “The engineering program here really pulled him toward Iowa State,” Cheryl said.
Other family members attending included his siblings and several members of his extended family.
In addition to career and military inspiration, Hennings is driven by his faith. “As a Christian, I strongly believe in serving others,” he said.
Through a group at Cornerstone Church in Ames, he volunteered as a mentor to fifth graders at Kate Mitchell Elementary School during the Spring 2011 semester. This year he volunteered for Habitat for Humanity.
Hennings graduates with a bachelor of science in civil engineering in May. He will marry his fiancé, Brittany, this August.
Civil engineering senior Willie Hennings (front middle) stands with CCEE faculty and his family soon before he is sworn into the U.S. Navy at the Memorial Union March 26. CCEE Lecturer and retired Navy Civil Engineer Corps Officer Beth Hartmann (in uniform) initiated Hennings into the Navy with the Oath of Enlistment. CCEE Lecturer Tom Stout (far right) was there as well.