Lynden senior Caleb Newman said he's not aware of any family member who has served in the military - at least not recently.
"There may have been a great grandfather way back," Newman said in a phone interview. "But nothing direct."
But in committing to go to United States Military Academy to play football for Army on Tuesday, Jan. 22, Newman is keeping a family tradition alive.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound defensive end/linebacker will follow in the footsteps of his father and play NCAA Division I football. His father played football at the University of Utah.
Newman also becomes the second member of Lynden's standout class of seniors to agree to a Division I scholarship offer, following Matt Meyer, who agreed to play offensive tackle for Washington State last fall.
The first day that either can officially sign a National Letter of Intent is Feb. 6.
"It's pretty exciting," Newman said. "You know how Matt and I are - talking smack to each other. He told me if we play, he's making sure I never got near his quarterback, and I said there's no way, because I'd blitz off the end and he wouldn't be able to block me."
At one point, Newman was considering joining Meyer in Pullman, but he chose Army over Washington State, Eastern Washington and Air Force.
He said he made his visit to West Point last weekend and was immediately sold.
"There were a lot of things that I loved about it," Newman said. "The community they have out there is a post. Everybody that works or is associated with the school lives there. The head coach's house is on the post, and all the players hang out just down the road. His wife makes everybody pancakes. I just loved the feeling there. There were all these old buildings. The school was built in 1803 by guys like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. There were a lot of old buildings and history there.
"When I was there, it seemed like the perfect place for me. I didn't want to make the decision while I was there, because I was afraid I might get caught up in the moment. It was a long trip home, and I'm glad I had (Monday) off from school to figure things out, and it just felt right."
Though Newman was a first-team Class 2A all-state selection at linebacker last fall, his athleticism makes him versatile - something he said Army seeks for its players.
Newman led Lynden by harassing the quarterback 12 times, recording five sacks and causing six fumbles in helping the Lions to their second straight 2A state title last fall.
Newman now hopes to be part of a rebuilding process at Army, as the Black Knights went 2-10 last year and 3-9 in 2011 and have not won the Army-Navy Game since 2001.
"They have a new coaching staff that is changing the way they're recruiting," Newman said. "It's been tough the past couple of years, but they believe they're turning things around. Everybody there bleeds black and gold. Everybody gets so excited about the Army-Navy Game, I talked to a lot of players about it, and they told me it is just an unbelievable experience. I can't wait to be a part of it."
In choosing Army, though, Newman not only chose which school he'll play college football for, he chose his first career after he graduates.
Attending the service academy brings a five-year commitment to the U.S. Army upon his graduation. Newman will enter as a second lieutenant and said he will have a single-level command of 16 to 40 men. Though his performance in school and the Army will determine where he ends up, Newman said his early choices are aviation, the Military Police or infantry.
"I just feel I owe a duty to my country," Newman said. "I feel so blessed to live in a country that I can enjoy the things that I do. I want to make a difference so that people can enjoy the freedoms we have. I believe the service pushes us to be the best, and I want to help as many people as possible."
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.