Lt. Jeff Clarkson has been extremely busy in the year since his commencement in 2006. Throughout his four years at Holy Cross, Clarkson also participated in ROTC. Here he had to take additional classes, but he never minded. He knew from an early age he wanted to serve in the U.S. military. After graduation, he moved to Fort Benning, Florida and completed the Basic Officer’s Leader Course. Clarkson referred to this as sort of a crash course, “hey welcome to the army, here’s what you need to know”. After this, he went through the Infantry Officer Basic Course, which teaches its student how to lead a platoon. Last November, he enrolled in Ranger school. He is now Ranger qualified, making him a very skilled soldier. “Less than 1% of the army wears a Ranger tab. It separates you as a more highly qualified soldier”. Clarkson did not stop there. He received even more training at the Airborne School, making him qualified to jump out of planes. “The first two weeks you just learn the basics of how to leave the plane, how to land, learn how to fall down so you don’t get hurt. Then the third week you do your five jumps. I can’t wait. I want to be the first guy out the door.” He is now living in Fort Hood, Texas serving as the platoon leader in the First Armor Brigade.
Clarkson feels Holy Cross really helped him prepare for his future. The baccalaureate program is known for its cohort system, which helped him to “work as a group and not just as an individual”. This has always been an essential element of succeeding in the military. He also feels that Holy Cross’ eclectic body of students and variety of classes have helped him to become a well rounded person. “I feel like I can carry on a conversation with just about anyone”. This must be useful in the military when everyone comes from such different backgrounds.
Clarkson will not be slowing down anytime soon. In one year, he has already accomplished a multitude of things and is aspiring for more. “I love my job. It’s kind of fun being able to say that you actually enjoy waking up every morning and doing your job”.