Honor, courage and commitment. These three words form the foundation of a U.S. Marine’s core values.
For one Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps cadet, it was these same core values that helped him to rise above the adversity and obstacles life threw his way.
Tomasz Niedzwiecki, from Miami University (Ohio), had always wanted to become a Marine Corps officer. However, the college degree requirement didn’t come for free and scholarships were scarce.
“In the same week, I was denied admittance to the United States Naval Academy and found out I was not selected for the NROTC Scholarship,” said Niedzwiecki. “I can honestly say I was pretty discouraged.”
After hearing the bad news in his senior year of high school, Niedzwiecki steeled his reserve and kept with the plans he had established before he applied.
“I had four plans to become an officer,” said Niedzwiecki. “Even though I was discouraged initially, I had confidence in my ability to improve and had faith that with enough hard work my goals of being an officer in the Marine Corps would come true.”
Hard work would be exactly what he needed to continue his journey. In 2014, the highly competitive NROTC Scholarship was awarded to roughly 18 percent of over 4000 applicants.
“Applicants who demonstrate superior leadership, academic standings, physical fitness, and the desire to be an officer in the United States Marine Corps compete for this scholarship on a national level,” said 1st Lt. Michael MacPhail, executive officer of Recruiting Station Cleveland. “Being selected means the Corps has a special interest in you becoming a leader within its officer ranks.”
He joined the NROTC program at Miami and reapplied for the scholarship during his freshman year, according to Niedzwiecki. Once he got the first real taste of what the Marine Corps was like, he knew it was a good fit. His unstoppable desire to be part of the Corps is what pushed him to re-apply and lead to him winning the scholarship.
Niedzwiecki went on to say that he hopes to be able to better the lives of the men and women he works with by pushing them to succeed in everything they do. He truly believes that to succeed as a Marine Corps officer the others around him must prosper.
Niedzwiecki is expected to graduate spring of 2018 with a bachelor’s of science degree in Mechanical Engineering.