Former Team USA synchronized skating athlete earns commission at Officer Candidate School
From Officer Training Command Newport Public Affairs
NEWPORT, R.I. – A former Team USA synchronized skating athlete and Connecticut native will soon graduate from Officer Candidate School (OCS) as a newly commissioned Naval Flight Officer, Nov. 12.
Officer Candidate Casey Ouellette, from East Granby, Connecticut, is ranked first of 94 students, class 02-22.
OCS graduates who score in the top tenth percentile in academics and military inspections and earn a greater than 95 percent score on the physical readiness test earn the command’s prestigious distinction award.
Ouellette began synchronized skating when she was 6 years old, skated for the U.S. team at 12 years old as a novice and competed with the world team as a junior.
“While we weren’t officially assigned leadership roles on the synchro team, we naturally fell into mentorship roles for junior skaters,” said Ouellette. “As seniors, we helped developed them into better athletes and necessary skills to be better people overall.”
Whenever Ouellette felt nervous in anticipation for a major OCS training event like the Room, Locker, Personnel inspection, she reflected on her competitive mindset as she would stand in the tunnel before getting on the ice to perform.
Ouellette’s hatch mate at OCS explained how they both motivated themselves before big training events.
“We’re already preparing ourselves at least an hour ahead of time, like warming up with short exercises,” said Officer Candidate Kalireyna Streeby, previously a Chief Fire Controlman and a soon-to-be Surface Warfare Officer. “No matter if it was making sure our uniforms looked right, our hair is within grooming standards, whatever it is, we’re prepared for the day and walking out the door to conquer.”
Streeby added how Ouellette’s dedication and motivation was contagious.
“It’s hard to witness what she does and not be inspired,” said Streeby. “She didn’t spend countless hours studying, improving written assignments, fine-tuning her uniforms, precisely following the physical fitness routines for herself to be the number one student; she did it to improve the overall class average. Everything she did was selfless… I would be proud to serve under her leadership.”
“My father always told me to find something you love and become the best at it,” added Ouellette. “Hardships and struggles will eventually come up, there will be pain, but it’s what you do with the pain that determines what it becomes. You create your own luck, no matter what, keep pushing and don’t back down. Use what you learned to become even stronger.”
Officer Candidate Casey Ouellette also recalled her late mother’s battle with cancer and realized how life is short, so she wanted to do something impactful and that she can be proud of.
“I was part of Team USA for 13 years and it’s been a privilege to represent our nation in this sport,” said Ouellette. “Stepping on the ice and representing the U.S. is a feeling like none other. I am so proud to be an American and live in the greatest country in the world.”
Ouellette explained how she’s grateful to have had the opportunity to compete on behalf of the U.S.
She added, “I get to continue representing our nation with a different uniform. It’s my way of paying back that incredible opportunity and I felt it is my sense of duty to serve.”
Ouellette is a 2015 graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology.
After graduating OCS, Ouellette will report to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida for flight training.
OTCN morally, mentally and physically develops future leaders of character and competence – imbuing them with the highest ideals of honor, courage and commitment in order to serve as professional naval officers worthy of special trust and confidence.
For more information about OTCN, visit https://www.netc.navy.mil/NSTC/OTCN.