Cadet overcomes past to receive Army ROTC honor for leadership
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2012 22:04
Nathan Quinn is not your ordinary Miami University senior. At 5 a.m. Friday, while most students are comfortably sleeping in bed, Quinn along with a select few are up and ready for Physical Training (PT), a demand for any Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadet or midshipman.
Quinn is a U.S. Army ROTC cadet with the Xavier University ROTC “All for One” Battalion. Miami only has Navy and Air Force ROTC units, but students interested in the Army participate in Xavier’s program.
Quinn is being honored for his leadership with the opportunity to attend the U.S. Military Academy Battle Command Conference (BCC) at West Point, NY from April 24 to 26. But his four-year journey was not free of any twists or turns. At one point, he almost lost his dream to serve as an officer in the U.S. military.
Originally, Quinn arrived at Miami as a midshipman in the U.S. Marine Corps ROTC unit. But after he made some poor choices, Quinn’s scholarship was revoked. With his commission gone, Quinn had to do serious soul searching.
“It made me reflect a lot and I decided that I’d rather still serve in some capacity than not serve,” Quinn said. “Even if it wasn’t the Marine Corps I still wanted to find a venue to serve. I considered my other options and with what I wanted to do the Army was the obvious choice.”
Quinn approached Lt. Colonel Shane Ousey at Xavier University, the host program for Miami’s ROTC cadets, and received a second chance. But, he had to prove himself.
“I admitted my mistakes and I told him that it was a mistake and that was it, it wasn’t my character,” Quinn said. “Fortunately for me he gave me a second chance and he allowed me to try to prove myself. I had to go through Basic Training [in Fort Knox, KY] to prove that I wasn’t just in it for the money but I was dedicated to serving.”
For the last three years, Quinn proved himself as a worthy leader and has used his past mistakes as a platform to reach out to younger cadets.
“I found out the hard way that you can’t do the things I did and become a commissioned officer,” Quinn said. “I try to preach that to the younger cadets and I hope to take that to my soldiers. We all think we’re going to get a pass because people have respect for the military but we’re not above the system.”
At the BCC, Quinn along with other cadets and midshipmen will learn the challenges of serving in the military from top military leaders and veterans. They will conduct an inventory of character, competence and leadership, in order to develop new forms of self-awareness. Small groups will be formed for cadets and mentors to interact in a Leader-to-Leader conversation.
“It was a huge honor for me,” Quinn said. “It’s a really great opportunity to get to talk to the leaders of our military right now, more predominately the Army and Marine Corps right now and get to learn from them.”
At this time, Quinn plans to ask the seasoned soldiers tips on how to respectfully lead a platoon. He said he wants to ask the question of how to respect soldiers’ experiences while maintain control of the people he leads.
Meanwhile, Quinn is engaged to a fellow Miamian and is set to graduate in August with a degree in mass communications. He will commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and has requested his Military Occupations Specialty (MOS) to be Infantry.
“I’m very successful in the Army right now,” Quinn said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to be allowed to serve because it means a lot to me.”