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My desire to focus on an international development career has evolved over time. It is the product of an enthusiastic ambition to make a difference and the cumulative experiences of several combat deployments as a US Army officer. I joined the Army to do my part for my country and make the world a better place. Following a deployment to Iraq in 2005 as an infantryman, I joined the Special Forces and became a Green Beret to follow a less conventional path and live the motto, De Oppresso Liber, “To Free the Oppressed”.
The notion may sound a bit romantic, but it has been a sincere objective. It also opened my eyes to the interplay between the State Department, USAID, NGOs, and the military. While carrying a gun as a Green Beret, I spent the majority of my time trying to avoid using it. In my experience, small scale development efforts that were economically viable and culturally attuned did the most for our stability and security missions. This made me realize economic development is key to stability, and it is closely intertwined with security and governance.
Looking back on my first year in the Program - it has been quite a year and I’m happy to have it under my belt! My wife and I left our jobs, moved to Cambridge, started school, and added a wonderful baby boy to our family. WOW! In the classroom, I think that I have probably learned more than most, which is a reflection of how little I knew about development, and the exceptionalism of my classmates. In many ways, I sought the MPA/ID Program to further understand my military experiences, though for every question I’ve come close to answering, I now recognize myriad more. The Program is a consistent challenge, but I know it is the right challenge for me and I’m enthusiastic about the next year.
A West Point graduate and Bronze Star recipient, Greg has had a distinguished career in the United States Army as a soldier–diplomat, most recently serving as a ‘Green Beret’ Special Forces Commander in Afghanistan.