MONROE, Ga. — Jake Peevy is not the first man in his family to graduate from his college ROTC program and earn a commission into the U.S. Army.

He’s not even the second.

Instead, Peevy is the third in his family line to record such an honor, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather before him.

Peevy’s grandfather was a cadet in the ROTC at the University of Georgia, graduating from the program to be commissioned into the Army Reserve. His father, Mark Peevy, did the same at Princeton, serving in military intelligence for a time after graduating from the ROTC program there.

Peevy, a graduate of Walnut Grove High School, in turn graduated from Vanderbilt University and its ROTC program this spring, although he was unable to attend a commencement ceremony due to the restrictions in place due to COVID-19. But the Army waits for nothing, and he was duly commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army on Saturday.

“I’m excited,” Peevy said. “It’s the end of a journey, or the end of a beginning of a longer journey before me. It’s been five to six years of working to get here.”

Although Peevy was unable to attend a large gathering of his fellow cadets due to coronavirus concerns, his family was unwilling to let the occasion go by without commemoration. On Saturday, Peevy’s family and friends gathered on the lawn of the Historic Walton County Courthouse to celebrate his accomplishment and the beginning of his new mission.

“We wanted this to be a special occasion,” Mark Peevy said. “I mean, he’s third generation Army ROTC. It’s a pretty special thing for us all.”

Peevy took the oath before all his loved ones, administered via digital device by his ROTC commander, Lt. Col. Dustin Mitchell, and said he was happy to have them with him on such a momentous occasion.

“I’m happy all my people are here,” Peevy said. “I’m disappointed I couldn’t be commissioned with my classmates, but I’m excited to start my career.”

Peevy will travel to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in September to begin training as a field artillery officer. After six months there, he will transfer to Fort Lewis in Washington state to truly begin his career in the military.

He will not be going alone, though. Three weeks after his commission, Peevy is set to marry his fiancée, Claire Crawford.

“This is a big month for him,” Mark Peevy said.

On Saturday, with marriage and orders still before him, Peevy could take time to thank everyone for coming on his big day and offers slices of cake to commemorate the occasion.

But he’s all too ready to take the next step as an officer of the U.S. Army.

“This is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do,” Peevy said. “I can’t wait to get started.”

Stephen Milligan is a staff writer for The Walton Tribune. He lives in Monroe and is a graduate of the University of Georgia.