Since graduating from Des Lacs-Burlington High School in 1990, Brian Goldschmidt has lived in eight different states some more than once served on six different ships, gone through a variety of schools and held probably 20 different "jobs."
"The constants for me have been hard work, trust in my abilities, focus on leadership and ethical behavior, and flexibility. I have kept my focus on being a commanding officer and occasionally waivered and doubted but never gave up," said Goldschmidt.
Goldschmidt, who has the commissioned officer rank of lieutenant commander, has been selected for promotion to the rank of commander. The promotion is scheduled to become effective Sept. 1.
Submitted Photo --
Lt. Cmdr. Brian Goldschmidt, left, in the ship’s pilot house, tells a “sea story” to a distinguished visitor onboard the USS Fort McHenry, shown in this photo taken Tuesday.
With his new rank comes the command of a ship. However, Goldschmidt said it usually takes two or three years after being selected for the commander rank before he will know the ship he will be assigned.
In the Navy for 14 1/2 years, currently Goldschmidt is the executive officer of the USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43). The Fort McHenry is a dock landing ship. He is stationed at Little Creek, Va.
Goldschmidt, who was selected to attend the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is believed to be the only student from Des Lacs-Burlington High School to receive a full scholarship to a military academy.
Goldschmidt, currently at sea on training exercises, responded to questions by e-mail from The Minot Daily News about his route to his Navy career and fulfilling his goal to serve his country.
"My father served 30 years in the United States Air Force. I pretty much knew that I, too, wanted to serve my country," said Goldschmidt.
He started applying for the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colo., with hopes of becoming a pilot.
"As I went through the selection process, I was chosen by Senator Kent Conrad. He personally called me on the phone to relay the information to me that I was his selection," Goldschmidt said.
As they spoke on the phone, Goldschmidt said Conrad indicated to him that he had only one appointment to the Air Force Academy and had already selected someone else for that spot. But Conrad told him he had two billets that year (1990) at the Naval Academy and if he wanted to accept that appointment, he was Conrad's choice.
"Knowing that the Navy also has pilots, I don't think I even hesitated before I said yes," Goldschmidt recalled.
But Goldschmidt also needed an academic waiver to get into the Naval Academy.
"In high school I took the ACT as part of the college entrance and preparatory routine. At this point, I don't remember my scores. I do remember that my math score on the ACT was one point lower than the Naval Academy admission requirements," Goldschmidt said. Because of that, he said he was required a waiver which allowed him admission.
"And I can tell you, I needed that waiver. Calculus I, II, and III definitely pushed me to my limits, but I was able to survive the challenge and graduated with a B.S. in history and GPA around 3.0. It was my history and English courses that carried the day thank goodness for the law of averages," he said.
Goldschmidt graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy May 25, 1994, and entered the Naval Aviation training pipeline. "I experienced academic difficulty in the training pipeline and transferred into the Surface Warfare Community to spend the remainder of my career on ships at sea. It is a decision I have never regretted," he said.
Goldschmidt said he is grateful to Conrad and owes him a "debt of gratitude" for nominating him for the Naval Academy.
"I wouldn't have gotten to where I am if he hadn't seen something and taken a chance on me back then," Goldschmidt said. "Everything started with that phone call I received from him."
Goldschmidt said there were times when he thought about "packing it all in and calling it quits."
"But that's not the way I was raised and that's not what North Dakotans do. We endure, we get the job done, we are a hardy group," he said.
Goldschmidt was born in Minnesota and lived in many different places while his dad, retired Chief Master Sgt. Paul Goldschmidt, served in the Air Force. But the younger Goldschmidt said, "North Dakota is still very much my home away from home." His parents, Paul and Bonnie Goldschmidt, still live at Burlington.
Goldschmidt credits his parents and his wife, Marica, for their support and helping him reach the goals he has attained.
"For all the reasons that children thank their parents, I too couldn't have done it without them," Goldschmidt said. "Early on during my freshman year at the Naval Academy, I was crying on the phone ready to come home and my dad wouldn't let me. I found the strength in their confidence in me to continue on and that has made the difference. I don't think I've told them enough how much support they've given me without them even realizing it."
He said his wife provides him with much support and is making a big sacrifice.
"As I have risen through the ranks and taken positions of increased responsibility and accountability, she has stood by my side," Goldschmidt said. "My days at work get longer, and my time away from home is greater and greater. She is there every day, holding down the fort and raising our family. She is truly awesome."
Goldschmidt has advice for those who want to achieve their goals and dreams:
"The answer comes back to blooming where you are planted. We get frustrated. We don't get what we want. But sometimes we don't really know what we want. I've had ups and downs, but I always try to maintain a positive air and be a positive influence about me.
"I am not where I am today because of any one particular thing. I have a multitude of skills and abilities that combine to get me through," he said.
Looking back on what has taken place, he said:
"As I look back, I truly believe I have landed where I was meant to land. Some would say that I have bloomed where I was planted. I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome.
"I believe in this community I have had more opportunity to influence, train, mentor and touch the lives of more sailors, hopefully to their benefit," Goldschmidt said.