On May 9th, Beech Grove Alum and West Point Graduate Eddie Mobley addressed the 2013 Induction Class of the high school’s National Honor Society. Eddie delivered such a powerful and inspirational message, that we felt it would be a message worth sharing with those involved in the athletic programs at the high school. Eddie was a member of the football, wrestling, and track teams while he was here at Beech Grove and his message should provide motivation as our athletes head into their summer workouts. His message is below.
National Honor Society Inductee,
Congratulations on a truly commendable accomplishment. You have achieved a great milestone in your academic career. I am humbled and honored to write this letter to you and deeply regret that I could not deliver this address in person at your ceremony. I still remember the words that Mr. Mitchell said to my NHS class back in 2005. I want this letter to serve as a note of congratulation, inspiration, and a glimpse as to what it will take to be successful in your future.
I am excited for you as you progress to the next stage of your life. You have probably felt at times that the twelve years of academia you are soon to complete has been like climbing a mountain. That’s great and it is a noble accomplishment; however, focus on the goals ahead. Hundreds of humans have assailed Mount Everest, but not one lives on its peak. That is because you cannot hold on to one accomplishment for too long. You must eventually come back down to sea level and find a new mountain to scale or a new dream to chase. You all are winners. That is a very broad term, but I would like to conceptualize this as excellence being a mindset – not an act. One of my former commanders once told me, “Once you are a winner, you will always be a winner.” This is true because when you develop the heart of a champion and the mindset for success your future will belong to no one else beside yourself. I have had many obstacles and challenges since I graduated from BGHS, but because of my fundamental will to excel I was able to adapt and over come. As a newly pinned aviator I was sent to Kandahar, Afghanistan; the heartland of the Taliban and arguably the most violent part of the world. I was given a platoon of 13 pilots, 26 soldiers, and 10 Apache Longbow helicopters with a task of destroying the enemy’s will to fight and protecting my brothers in arms on the ground. I felt overwhelmed with the responsibility that had been bestowed upon me. But as I lay in my cot and listened to the jets take off from Kandahar Airfield, I would frequently reflect on the path that had taken me to combat.
I had a great high school career that enabled me to attend West Point. I was once the king of the school, but when I walked on the hallowed grounds of the historic campus that is now my Alma Mater, I was instantly humbled. The reality at West Point was that I had to start over and prove my character, intellect, and determination to be the best. I was put in my place by senior cadets and a curriculum that would test my mettle and transform me from a boy to a leader of America’s best warriors. Every year at West Point forced me out of my comfort zone, and each time I fell back on the fundamentals from my Beech Grove experience that had led me to be successful: working harder than my peers, a willingness to seize opportunities, and the ability to make allies by treating people well. The same fundamentals from that led me to learn a single leg takedown, kept me up extra hours to complete an assignment on time, or the diligence to double check my answers before turning in a test were the same habits that I would apply through my West Point education, Flight School training, and take to war.
Once alerted of my upcoming deployment I began researching the Taliban’s tactics. It was critical that I prepare myself for the role I would have in Afghanistan. In moments of doubt, I ventured to take initiative and attack America’s enemies when a defensive stance could have been easily settled upon. And when direction was needed I called the ground commanders and asked how we could better protect them across the battlefield. As a result I led one of the most lethal formations in the history of Southern Afghanistan and brought all of my soldiers home.
You are no different than I was when I was inducted into the National Honor Society. Your induction into this organization says a great deal about your character. Everyone has the will to start something, but you all have demonstrated you have the heart to finish. In my experience I have concluded that there are two types of people in this world: those of action, and all others. These men and women of action yearn to drive the ship, to design their own destiny, and walk down the hallway of life thrusting open doors others were too timid to open.
You will have many challenges ahead in your life ranging from whether to stay in college to unexpected life events that seem insurmountable. I challenge you to be in the better part of society, not in an arrogant or snide way, but in terms of doing something about it. When others sit in the coffee shop complaining about our government, their social economic status, or quite possibly even your success, I ask that you surpass the naysayers, expand your comfort zone, and lean forward. After all, that is why you, as a person of action, have written hundreds of pages for papers and exams, attended a myriad number of practices, and chose the harder right over an easier wrong. This is why you possess the will to accomplish much more. Your high school experience will not define your life, but it will perpetuate your future success.
In closing, never forget where you came from. You have made your families, school, and city proud. Now it is time for you to make your nation proud. Never think for a second that a student in a charter, private, or 5A school has any advantage over you. I walked the same halls and I assure you that you have every tool necessary to accomplish your dreams. Keep searching for mountains to climb and remember excellence is a lifestyle, not an achievement.
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army
“Apaches Lead the Way”
Thank you, Eddie, for these words, for your service, and for your legacy.