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Alumni Spotlight with Tom Beck, Rho
By Mike Blackstock, Epsilon
When did you know you wanted to join the military and what were the deciding factors in doing so?
I really figured it out by the end of my sophomore year in college. All of of my family has served...my Grandfathers were in the Army, my Father was in the Navy, and both of my brothers enlisted in the Marines (SEMPER FI) before I made the decision to go to OCS. That played a major factor in my choice to serve, as well as the attacks of 9/11. The subsequent invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq pretty much sealed the deal. It was always an option for me and I felt I could do more good serving the Marines then any other option.
How did your involvement in ADG affect your military life and vice versa?
I believe that being involved in the one has made me better at the other. Both have made me a better leader and a better more complete well rounded man. Both have many similar characteristics. You realize you're a part of something bigger than yourself, that is committed to a set of values and principles that at times seems to be lost by the rest of society. Service, honor, commitment, selflessness...the list goes on and on.
What do you see as the difference between those joining the military for a few years vs. those who make a full career out of it?
There is very little difference between those that serve for 4 or 40 years. The choice to stay in the military (especially now as we are deploying constantly to support two different wars) isn't an easy one. The factors for those that choose to do 20 years could be the same ones another chooses to get out and go in to the civilian sector.
As someone who is a veteran of war, what does Veteran's Day mean to you?
A free meal at Applebee's... yeah! Just kidding. Honestly it means a lot. It is a chance to reflect on all the blessings that I have because of all the sacrifices that those who have put on the uniform of this nation have endured when their country called on them.
How much does the support of Americans mean for those fighting overseas?
It is an absolute blessing. It is important for those who serve in the military to know the sacrifices, risks and work we do is truly appreciated. Everywhere I have been, I have seen an outpouring of support whether they believe in the war or not. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
What, if any, is the biggest misconception about the military?
I recently read an article in the Marine Corps Gazette from Col Matthew Bogdanos, USMCR called 'The Gathering Storm'. In it he briefly mentions a persistent misconception. (If you want the full article it is great and I sat in on a brief he gave. He is an incredibly intelligent and profound orator).
"Explode myths from prior eras. Political rhetoric notwithstanding, the average enlistee is not some uneducated back-water redneck or dead-end inner-city youth. In 2007, 99 percent of recruits were high school graduates (against 84 percent nationally), while 95 percent of officers had bachelor's degrees (against 27 percent nationally); 50 percent of recruits came from the wealthiest two-fifths of neighborhoods, but only 29 percent from the poorest two-fifths of; and--mirroring the country's rich diversity -- 34 percent of all recruits belonged to a racial or ethnic minority (against 34.2nationally)..." I think this explains and dispels a still somewhat prevalent myth.
Why is it important to you to continue to stay involved in ADG with everything else that is going on in life?
There is a saying in the Marine Corps...'Once a Marine Always a Marine'...'Once an Alpha Delt always an Alpha Delt'. When I joined this Fraternity I didn't want be be a brother for a year or two, rather, I wanted to and will be a brother for life.
Tom Beck is an alumnus and re-Founding Father of Rho Chapter.