PERRY HALL, Md. — A hometown hero from Perry Hall is about to become a leader in the Navy.
Officer Candidate Heather Lancellotti is finishing up the 13-week Officer Candidate School program.
She had a successful career and two master's degrees but decided there was no better time than now to make the switch from civilian to enlisted.
“I was tired of hearing my stepdad say go Army beat Navy so that was part of the reason," Lancellotti joked. "I’ve always just wanted to join the service, so I figured why not this is a really good time.”
Lancellotti was the captain of her softball and soccer teams at Perry Hall High School and Notre Dame College of Maryland.
She's about to complete Officer Candidate School or OCS.
The program is one of several initial Officer training programs that is different from the US Naval Acadamy and Naval ROTC programs. This program Includes students from the civilian world like Lancellotti and enlisted members of the Navy.
The military structure involved took some getting used to, but she says she's growing in a lot of areas.
“Delegation, you can’t do everything yourself," said Lancellotti. "It definitely takes the whole team to accomplish your goals.”
The 13-week training is grueling and her goals keep her going.
She credits her stepfather, an Army Veteran who used to fly black hawks as inspiration for the path she chose.
“Right now, I’m in the aviation program so I want to become the best flight officer I can”
She got her master's degree in analytics from Notre Dame of Maryland and a master's in teaching from Stevenson.
She hopes little girls will look up to her and see that they too can reach their dreams.
“Theres not a lot of female presence and that’s something I’m hoping to change. I know I can be just as strong, and just as fast, and just as smart as the boys so it’s not anything anybody should be afraid of.”
In two weeks, she graduates and heads to Pensacola for flight school.
She says her family is a huge support and they’ve all sent pictures swagged out in Navy Gear-even her stepdad who is an Army Veteran.
She’s excited to spend a day or two with them back home before heading to her next training.