US military Rhodes Scholars feature in media, books, and appointments

Two Rhodes Scholars feature on the front cover of TIME magazine as part of 'the new greatest generation' of young war veterans who are 'redefining leadership at home', and another Scholar has featured in the media for his memories of construction of the Berlin Wall, 50 years ago this month. These are among many ways in which the contributions of US military Rhodes Scholars have been recognised.

Elizabeth McNally (nee Young) (Connecticut & Worcester 2000) and Wes Moore (Maryland & Wolfson 2001) are among five veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan featured on TIME magazine's cover who are giving outstanding service to the community at home in the United States. (For the cover, click here, and for the article, click here.)

TIME writes that 'an Army captain named Wes Moore has started a mentoring program for first-time offenders between the ages of 8 and 12 in Baltimore and travels the country giving motivational speeches to high school kids'. Wes Moore has attracted widespread praise for his 2010 book The Other Wes Moore, which tells the stories of two boys with the same name, from similar neighbourhoods and similarly difficult childhoods, whose decisions lead them to radically different outcomes.

TIME mentions Liz McNally as among the 'military intellectuals from the service academies' who have been mentored by General David Petraeus, describing her as a 'West Point graduate and Rhodes scholar who did a tour in Baghdad at the age of 24, running a platoon of military police officers, and later became the general's speech writer'. General Petraeus has spoken previously of his warm admiration for the Rhodes Scholars with whom he has worked.

Also mentioned by TIME magazine is Eric Greitens (Missouri & Lady Margaret Hall 1996), 'a former Navy SEAL who runs a program for badly wounded returning veterans called the Mission Continues'. Eric Greitens's recent book,  The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, The Making of a Navy SEAL, discusses his personal journey and service as a humanitarian and warrior, and has been featured in the Books page of this website.

Discussing the phenomenon of young war veterans making such remarkable contributions, TIME quotes John Nagl  (Nebraska & St John's 1988), 'a former Army officer who is chairman of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a Washington think tank almost entirely staffed by this new generation of veterans'.

Reflecting the importance of work to secure the welfare of fellow veterans, another recent Rhodes Scholar veteran, Erica Borggren (Illinois & Oriel 2002), has been appointed by Governor Pat Quinn to be director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs.

A Rhodes Scholar of an earlier generation, Gaines Post (Wisconsin &  New College 1961), who served in the US Army in 1959-61, has written in the press of his memories of serving in Berlin in August 1961 at the time of construction of the Berlin Wall. Click here for his article. Gaines Post came up to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar from his Army service, and later became a distinguished professor of history, teaching for many years at Claremont McKenna College in California.

Another Rhodes Scholar veteran whose writings have been prominent in recent times is Karl Marlantes (Oregon & University 1967), whose best-selling novel Matterhorn (2010), draws on his experiences as a soldier to detail the harrowing travails of a US Marine company in the Vietnam War. Karl Marlantes was the winner of the 2011 W. Y. Boyd Literary Award 'for Excellence in Military Fiction' for Matterhorn. More recently, he has published What it is like to go to war (2011).

A Rhodes Scholar, Ashton B. Carter (Connecticut & St John's 1976), who has taught for many years at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and served in the U.S. Department of Defense under three Presidents, has been nominated this month by President Obama to become Deputy Secretary of Defense.

A reunion of US military Rhodes Scholars is currently being planned by the Association of American Rhodes Scholars.