A popular adage at the United States Naval Academy aptly describes the unusual student life at the 173-year-old military school: Not College.

Besides carrying a STEM-centric class load (physics, calculus, and chemistry), every USNA midshipman must master seamanship fundamentals, sweat out endless numbers of push-ups and pull-ups, and keep his or her dorm room in, well, shipshape.

So adjusting to academy life is challenging for even the most dedicated student. It’s supposed to be tough.

But Mason Wells is a tough young man.

Long before enduring the rigors of military life at the academy, Mason survived almost unimaginable pain and horror.

Latter-day Saints know his story well.

He was one of four full-time missionaries injured in the March 22, 2016, Brussels airport terrorist attack. The young elder suffered serious injuries in the explosion, spent months in the hospital, and endured multiple surgeries and medical procedures.

“I still have shrapnel in my head and in my legs—there are some things that are just going to stay with me,” he said matter-of-factly.

But he marked a key moment in his recovery in the summer of 2017 when he reported for Induction Day at the Naval Academy, fulfilling a promise he made himself years earlier. 

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