Roy Loudermilk & Austin Baker

As the nation pauses this Saturday to honor our veterans–all those who served the nation in the armed forces, we here at RealWV wanted to take a moment to honor two inspiring young men who are just beginning their military careers.

Roy Loudermilk and Austin Baker have been best friends since kindergarten. They grew up fishing, playing sports, and doing everything together.

This summer, they attended basic training as 17-year olds. It wasn’t a summer camp. Wasn’t a watered down version of basic training. Wasn’t an athletic adventure weekend. It was the real deal.

“Right now we are US Army soldiers,” says Austin.

But before they begin their military careers, they have one last thing to do. Finish their senior year of high school at Greenbrier West High School.

For Roy, serving in the armed forces has always been a dream. “I want to do something that’s bigger than myself,” he explains.”

Austin feels similarly. “Even when I was little, I wanted to be a protector,” he says. “Protect my family and protect our freedom.”

When Roy graduates, he will report for duty to learn his job. He may still choose to attend college first. That will be decided later this year.

Austin, meanwhile, plans to report to his unit when he graduates and begin serving. He aims to be a US Army Ranger.

For putting service above self and committing their lives to protecting others at age 17, we are proud to name Roy Loudermilk and Austin Baker as the certified Real West Virginians of the Week. Thank you for your service, young men!

If you would like to nominate someone to be the Real West Virginian of the Week, please send us an email at


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