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Premier12 fireballer Noah Song to report to US Navy Flight School

Premier12 fireballer Noah Song to report to US Navy Flight School
The Boston Red Sox won't be able to use his 99 mph arm before May 2021. "I am fortunate to have two ‘Plan A's’ in life."

Noah Song, the USA National Team right-hander who delivered the fastest pitch of the WBSC Premier12 2019, won't play professional baseball in 2020. Song has been ordered to report to Flight School in Pensacola, Florida, by Friday (26 June) to begin his training.

The 23-year-old, a Naval Academy graduate, was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2019 MLB Draft. He submitted a waiver request to transfer his commission to the Navy Reserve.

According to the Navy, while the Department of Defense made a policy change in November 2019 to permit military service academy graduates to pursue professional sports careers, that policy did not apply retroactively to past graduates.

"Ensign Noah Song is prohibited from being released from his active duty service obligation in order to play professional baseball by law and policy," Commander Alana Garas wrote in an e-mail, "in accordance with Title 10, Section 8459."

"The original waiver, which requested the ability to continue my service by transferring my commission to the Navy Reserves and concurrently pursue a professional baseball career with the Red Sox organization, gave me the best chance to make it to the major leagues,” Noah Song said in a statement. “However, I understand transferring immediately into the Reserves is unlikely because the law and policy in my case do not permit it."

The Title quoted by Commander Garas states that "midshipmen may not be released from their commissioned service obligation to obtain employment as a professional athlete following graduation until they complete a period of at least two consecutive years of commissioned service."

Song’s commission began upon his graduation from the academy in May 2019. He will be eligible to seek a release into the Reserves, and the simultaneous pursuit of his pro baseball career, in May 2021.

"The Navy allowed me to participate in minor league baseball, and to compete for Team USA in the months following my commissioning, and I am grateful for that opportunity," added Song.

"If I were somehow allowed to transfer into the Reserves, I would have every intention of serving on active duty after my time with baseball ends. I place an incredible amount of personal value in serving my country and doing so in a meaningful way. I am fortunate to have two Plan A's in life; I want to serve my country as a naval aviator and play baseball for the Red Sox. I will continue to do all I can to accomplish both, and I sincerely appreciate the support I have received from the Navy and the Red Sox in reaching those goals."

Related article: Interview with Noah Song at WBSC Premier12