Ensign Matthew Charlton, 24, son of Harker Heights residents Bryan and Sara Charlton and grandson of Jos and Marty Portmann, also of Harker Heights, was recently named as the No. 1 graduate in the Navy’s “Protocol” School in Charleston, South Carolina.

Matthew’s father, Bryan, told the Herald that this is not his son’s first school where he’s graduated in the top position.

“When he graduated Suma Cum Laude from the University of Texas in 2017, he was in the top three percent of his Aero-Space Engineering class,” Bryan said.

From there, Matthew went into the Nuclear Navy Program through OCS and at that point went into the nuclear submarine side of the program.

Next was Nuclear Power School and he graduated there at the top of his class. “His GPA was the highest on record since 1986,” said Bryan. “This kid has phenomenal knowledge.”

The next school was Prototype School, where they’re being trained on decommissioned submarines. He had to get certified by all his officers to make sure he knew every component of the sub. “It’s a very intensive training program and the Navy doesn’t take it lightly,” Bryan said.

When admirals give their commencement speeches they talk about the difficulty of the training.

“Matthew was on the officer side of the house so he had to learn everything,” according to his father.

He again graduated at the top of his class in Prototype School.

That adds up to him being at the top of these three classes all the way through.

According to his dad, Matthew is thrilled and the biggest part of that he’s ready to go to work. “He’s been schooling since kindergarten and once he joined the Navy there was more schooling.”

He’ll be stationed at Norfolk, Virginia, and is excited about getting started. Matthew will attend an eight-week Submarine Officer’s Basic Course in Groton, Connecticut and then return to Norfolk, where he will become one of the officers of the new submarine, the Virginia Class Submarine Montana SNN 794, currently under construction.

Bryan said, “As parents we’re super proud of both of our boys and what they’ve been able to accomplish. We’ve always encouraged them to chase their dreams and to find their passion in life.”

Matthew graduated number two in his class at Ellison High School and was always known as that studious guy. “Watching him grow out of high school through college into the Navy has been phenomenal for his mom and dad to watch. He was a little introverted in school but now he’s matured to that point that he’s become a great leader.”

The Charltons say their other son, Michael, was the opposite as an extrovert and has been that leader type and was president of every organization for which he had time.

“You cannot put words to what Matthew has accomplished. It’s something you don’t hear about often,” Bryan said.

Bryan did not serve in the military, but his father served 30 years in the Army.

Matthew’s grandfather, Jos Portman, served 20 years in the reserves and as a civilian in the Army.

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