Moffat County grads plan to follow family tradition into military service

Moffat County graduates Easton Briggs and Kaden Hixson pose in front of the American flag on the third floor of MCHS. Briggs plans to enlist in the Navy and Hixson in the Marines after graduation.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

Whether it’s following exactly in the footsteps of those who came before them or striking out on a slightly different path, Moffat County High School graduates Easton Briggs and Kaden Hixson’ future plans were both influenced by family members who have served.

Hixson is heading into the United States Marine Corps and Briggs into the US Navy after graduation.

Though they’ll be in different branches of the Armed Forces, the pair came to the same conclusion about enlisting in much the same way — older family members who led by example.

Hixson will be only the latest in a legacy of Marines, including his grandfather James, uncle Cory, father Greg, and brother Gregory.

Hixson’s grandfather was part of the Corps during the Vietnam War, while both his father and uncle served in Iraq, and his brother joined up in 2019 after graduating from MCHS.

He noted that he first committed to the service last year.

“If I was able to graduate early, they would have let me enlist, but I had to have my high school diploma,” Hixson said.

He will only have a couple weeks after the graduation ceremony before he reports for duty on June 12.

While he’s set for naval service, Briggs still has some formalities to go through, including the Military Enrollment Processing Station.

Moffat County’s Easton Briggs looks to get a tag-out at second base during a game against Steamboat Springs.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

Briggs’ older brother Jacob went into the Air Force after finishing up at MCHS in 2018, though he was less inclined to go that route.

A big draw for the Navy, he said, is the amount of travel and unique global locations he’s likely to see.

“It’ll be warm and a lot different from here,” he said.

Briggs plans to become a Seabee and work on either HVAC or plumbing or with heavy machinery while in the service.

Hixson envisions becoming part of the Military Police.

The two of them are feeling confident about the physicality their respective training will require thanks to spending most of their childhoods in sports.

In addition to playing golf and basketball earlier in high school, Briggs’ focus has been baseball. Though his senior season didn’t result in a playoff berth for the Bulldogs, he earned All-Conference honors for his talent on the diamond as the team’s leadoff hitter — including two home runs this spring as part of a .310 batting average — and a reliable shortstop as well as one of many pitchers on the roster.

Though he too earned All-Conference as a football player this fall, Hixson’s main sport was wrestling during high school and earlier. After placing at the state championships for his first three years, he went the distance as a senior to not only finally get to the finals but win it in overtime.

Moffat County’s Kaden Hixson drives his opponent to the mat during a January home wrestling match.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

As the 3A 126-pound state champ — the first at any weight from Moffat County since 2007 — Hixson said the conditioning he went through will make military life that much simpler.

“I do think that will help me a lot; wrestlers have some of the toughest mentality, and that will for sure help me along with being physically ready,” he said.

Briggs agreed that athletic pursuits have helped him prepare for this next step.

“It taught me self-discipline, grit, and other helpful skills I will use when I join,” he said.

Both of them thanked the numerous family members, coaches, teachers and other guides who have helped them so far.

As far as once they’re in the service, the two of them concurred it can only strengthen them further.

“I think it’ll make us better people, more disciplined, instead of just going to college and partying like a lot of kids do,” Hixson said.

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