Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – BRProud sports reporter Aileen Hnatiuk sat down with LSU pitcher Paul Skenes to discuss his military background and his goals while on the Tigers’ team.

Aileen Hnatiuk: What made you choose Air Force coming out of high school?

Paul Skenes: I wanted to serve and I wanted to do some cool stuff with the military, which I thought would be a cool career choice in my life. I have two uncles who went to the Naval Academy, and then I have an uncle that’s actually teaching at the Coast Guard Academy right now. So I’ve seen how the Academy is, graduating from there, and how the military has affected their lives. And I knew that that was something that I wanted to do with my life. Playing professional baseball was a dream of mine, but it wasn’t the primary dream. Really all I wanted to do was play college baseball and go somewhere and know that I had a good career lined up ahead of me and Air Force was pretty much the perfect place for that.

Hnatiuk: Has the dream changed at all with serving to baseball and maybe what you want to do after college?

Skenes: Yeah, I would say serving is still in the picture because that’s something that you can start doing when you’re 40, 50. But I think, to be honest, you only get one shot at baseball, and so that’s my goal right now. That was my goal when I entered the transfer portal and decided to come here. So I’m going to give it my best shot.

Hnatiuk: Is your experience that you had there what makes you who you are today?

Skenes: You get there the first day and you start 37 days of basic training. You get a phone call during basic, you’re away from your family as an 18-year-old. You’re forced to figure out life really and figure out how to make new friendships, and self-leadership, all that, discipline. Those 37 days, I never want to do that again but it’s 100% shaped to who I am today.