After a 25-year absence in recruiting officers in the Central Valley, the U.S. Navy is back, and is basing its efforts at California State University, Fresno.

Lt. Patrick Paddock, the first Navy Officer Programs specialist to be located in the Valley in more than two decades, has set up an office at the university to offer information about the Navy’s Bachelor’s Degree Completion Plan, which offers scholarships worth as much as $116,500.

Several Fresno State students already have been accepted in the program, including three civil engineering majors. Paddock said Fresno State is the only university in the country to have signed three civil engineering students.

Students who have completed their sophomore year in any degree program with a 2.7 GPA may apply. Students who have a 3.4 GPA in engineering and who desire a career in nuclear engineering may apply after their freshman year.

Paddock said he will assist any student who desires a scholarship or a Navy commission and scholarship.

“I intend to ensure that Fresno State students are afforded the same opportunities that Stanford grads, for example, have enjoyed for several years,” said Paddock.

“I believe that we have a golden opportunity to provide the Navy with some outstanding officers, increase the diversity within the ranks of the Navy officer corps and put Fresno and the Central Valley on the map as the new hot-spot for the Navy’s future officer corps,” he said.

Paddock said tours of Lemoore Naval Air Station can be arranged for interested students during the annual Blue Angels air show on July 28-29.

During his 21-year Navy career, Paddock has served tours of duty aboard the battleship USS New Jersey, destroyers USS Thorn and USS Kinkaid, plus the USS Grasp and USS Puget Sound. He has visited 56 countries and was a participant in peacekeeping missions in Lebanon and Desert Storm.

The Navy officer program at Fresno State joins long-time ROTC programs of the Army and Air Force.

For more information on the Navy’s Bachelor’s Degree Completion Plan, call Paddock at 333-2595.