MOHAVE VALLEY — After high school, many graduates have a desire to be the best of the best.
Hunter Wheatcroft can argue that he’s already among the elite.
Wheatcroft, who graduated Saturday from River Valley High School, has been selected for a U.S. Navy delayed-entry program and employment as a nuclear propulsion operator.
He pre-qualified for the assignment by scoring a 93 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a qualification test administered by the military. The result means that Wheatcroft outperformed all but 6 percent of the other test takers.
Ordinarily, one would need to take a second test to enter the nuclear propulsion operator ranks, but his score allowed him to skip it.
Wheatcroft also underwent a criminal background check, was medically cleared and attended some training in Phoenix.
Next, Wheatcroft will go to Naval Station Great Lakes in the Chicago area for basic training, then to the Navy’s Nuclear Power School near Charleston, S.C.
The curriculum at Nuclear Power School is from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Wheatcroft will earn MIT credits for his training. The credits he earns in the two-year program won’t add up to a degree, he said, but can be applied toward a bachelor’s degree.
One difference between Nuclear Power School and a regular university?
“Homework will have to be done on campus,” Wheatcroft said. “A lot of it is classified, so the material can’t go off campus.”
Once done, Wheatcroft will be certified to work on nuclear reactors anywhere on the globe, though he’s committed to six years of Navy deployments.
Wheatcroft has volunteered for submarine duty, because he prefers a
smaller community, though he may be assigned to an aircraft carrier.
Wheatcroft said he had been considering attending college with the goal of going into the medical field, but that the cost took…