N.Y. Governor's Son Commissioned in the Marine Corps
By Staff Sgt. Amanda Hay
| | June 25, 2005
RECRUITING STATION NEW YORK --
Teddy Pataki, son of N.Y. State Gov. George Pataki, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marines Corps, Saturday June 25.
More than 50 family members, elected officials, former Marines and N.Y. State Police Officers gathered at Pataki's residence in Garrison, N.Y., for the formal ceremony of the Yale University graduate.
Pataki, a 22-year-old native of Peekskill, N.Y., began seeking out information from the Marine Corps in February 2004 during his junior year at Yale. His interest peaked during a mundane summer internship working in a cubicle. He said at that time he wanted something more challenging, more adventurous.
As a football player and fraternity president, his peers respected and admired his choice to take the commission and become a Marine officer, however, it was a shock to Yale as not that many of the students choose to serve in the military. “It doesn’t affect me,” Pataki said. “This is something that I wanted to do.”
He completed 10-weeks of training at Officer’s Candidate’s School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA in August 2004. “Succeeding in OCS meant a lot to me. It meant more than graduating Yale because it demanded so much from me as a person. I grew a lot during my time there.”
He added that graduates from Yale have a lot of options, but not all are as rewarding as being a Marine. “I wanted something more exceptional; something that would make the most out of me.”
Although following his family members footsteps at Yale, Pataki wanted to forge his own future after graduating. “The Marine Corps gave me a chance to make my own way. It was a way for me to prove myself,” Pataki said. “I chose the Marine Corps over all the branches because it’s respected throughout the world. It’s an elite brotherhood and I wanted to be a part of that.”
After receiving his lieutenant bars, he humbly admitted this ceremony was not about him, but more so a tribute to the family he is about to join. “The ranks I am privileged enough to join today have made this accomplishment significant through past bravery and loss of Marines throughout American history,” Pataki said.
After his commissioning, he thanked his family and friends for helping him develop into the person he is today. He thanked them for the letters that raised his spirits during the tough time at OCS.
He spoke of the spirituality he found during his Marine training. “Growing up, I never considered myself an especially spiritual or devout person. But I’ve found that it is something intangible, something divine and beyond our grasp or understanding, which can make the real difference when the cards are stacked against us," Pataki recalled. “Our drill instructors were masters at awakening this component of each (Officer Selection Officer candidates) intellect.”
Pataki’s recruiter, Capt. Matthew Kessler, said the leadership ability in Pataki was evident from the start. “From being elected as president of his fraternity to helping other officer candidates prepare for OCS, he was always willing to take charge. If given the chance at OCS, I knew he'd be successful & go on to become an officer of Marines.”
Pataki is now in the individual ready reserves and will be attending Fordham Law School, Bronx, N.Y. for the next three years. According to the standards of Platoon Leaders Class law program, upon graduation and completion of the Bar and ethics exam, Pataki will them come on active duty and begin his three and a half year obligation to the Marine Corps. He will attend The Basic School in Quantico, VA, then nine week Judge Advocate General course and assigned to his first duty station where he will become a military lawyer.