I graduated from The First Academy in 2012, and immediately went on to attend the United States Naval Academy as a member of the Class of 2016. Upon graduation from the Naval Academy, I received my Bachelor’s of Science with a major in History. In May of 2016, I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the United States Marine Corps, and traveled to Quantico, Virginia. While there, I completed the Basic Office Course, which all Marine Officers must finish before being assigned their Military Occupation Specialty. I competed for and was selected as a candidate for the Infantry Officer Course, which is a 3-month course designed to put all potential Marine Infantry Officers in scenarios that test their ability to decide, communicate, and act in the fog of war and chaos of combat. I graduated Infantry Officer Course in March of 2017, and was assigned to Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines in 29 Palms, California. I am currently serving as a Rifle Platoon Commander, where I have 42 Marines under my charge.
The largest impact that The First Academy had on me personally was showing me that true leadership is about more than management. I had some incredible teachers along the way, but Dave Oliver stands out as the man who had the largest impact on me. He demonstrated that passion is the driving force of all great leaders, and that devotion to those who you are leading does not go unnoticed. The responsibility of a leader, at its core, is to develop better men and women – the proficiency and mastery of skills and knowledge will come with the virtues common to those with strong character.
Growing up, my parents (Hank and Cheryl) taught me the importance of living a life that serves others, that nothing we have is meant solely for ourselves, and that if we do not put our passions and talents to work for others, they are meaningless. They taught me this through the most enduring method: example. Since my freshman year in high school, our family has adopted two beautiful girls from China. Their ministry has manifested itself in a very unique way – pouring themselves into other people, from all of their children to all of those they have impacted with their story.
In the same way, I believe that my ministry is my platoon – making better men, not just better Marines. The infantry is a unique field, filled with men convinced they are immortal, itching to go to an arena that tests that very idea. They are strong, selfless, and driven. So here is my ministry – to pour into young men the same way that I was, and to be more focused more on their character than their profession. The Lord has blessed my path thus far in placing me in a position of influence and giving me mentors along the way who have shown me what invested and passionate leaders look like.