This episode features Sammie Blea, a 2011 graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy. In this episode, you’ll hear all about how Sammie navigated the shock of moving from a tight-knit family in a rural mountain town in Colorado all the way across the country to the distant East Coast city of Annapolis Maryland; how she managed hearing the devastating news while at the Academy that her mom had cancer; and how she’s been able to reframe her many ups and downs into a form of personal resiliency instead of viewing her time at the Academy as one of pure survival. Enjoy the show!


  • Transitioning from a small town in Colorado down to the coastal city of Maryland.
  • Managing the stress of learning her mother had cancer while at the Academy.
  • Getting and then losing a flight contract and being forced to go SWO.
  • The transition to becoming an officer.
  • Balancing her military career while also prioritizing time with her mother.


  • Can you tell everyone where you’re from? What school you went to and when you graduated?
  • Can you give everyone 1-2 lines about who you are?

1:50 PART I:

  • What made you choose a Service Academy – and what made you specifically choose the U.S. Naval Academy?
  • Having a large support network, both in the family and in town
  • Choosing Navy and sticking with it

9:30 PART II:

  • What was the plan going to the Academy?
  • Did you visit the Academy?
  • How was that first day when you showed up?
  • If you had to sum up your time at the Academy in one word, what would it be?
  • How did things go when you showed up?

18:50 PART III:

  • Finding out her mom had cancer during plebe year.
  • What were some of the highlights of your time at the Academy?
  • Experience during the exchange program at USAFA.
  • When did you switch your major from chemistry?
  • Getting and then losing her flight contract and being forced to go SWO (Surface Warfare Officer).

29:00 PART IV:

  • What were some of the major lowlights for you at the Academy?
  • Feeling guilty about her mom’s cancer diagnosis. 
  • Dealing with sexual assault.
  • Having her gallbladder removed while at the USAFA.

38:00 PART V:

  • Tell me about your life post graduation.
  • The transition from the Academy to being an officer.
  • Being one of two females on a ship.
  • Managing divorce with a former classmate.
  • Earning her SWO pin.


  • Where are you today?
  • Transitioning out of SWO to IP (Information Professional).
  • How do you currently feel about your decision to attend an Academy?
  • What’s next for you?
  • Do you have any parting words for listeners? Perhaps a key message to your fellow Service Academy sisters?
  • What’s one random fun fact about you?
  • Where can people reach you?


Thanks for listening and don’t forget to visit us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn

In addition, if you enjoy what you heard here today, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review. And if you’d like to be featured on an upcoming episode, please feel free to submit your contact information on our website here.

Like, share, rate, subscribe. Thanks!!

Find us on iTunes!

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Service Academy Sorority

Latest videos