Jacob McGuire (’21) has been accepted to the United States Army’s Officer Candidate School, a military institution which trains, assesses, and evaluates potential commissioned officers of the U.S. Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard.
McGuire is currently enrolled in Basic Combat Training, the introduction to Army service often referred to as “boot camp,” and will complete the 10-week program before enrolling in OCS in Fort Benning, Ga. Upon completion of OCS, which lasts about 13 weeks, he will be given a formal commission as a U.S. Army officer and assigned the rank of second lieutenant.
McGuire’s interest in military service starts with his family. His great-uncle enlisted in the Army Air Force during World War II, serving in both the European and Pacific theaters. His grandfather served in the Oklahoma National Guard and the Army Reserve.
“The military has always been a big part of my family,” McGuire said. “I initially wanted to enlist after I graduated from high school, but my grandfather, who served in the reserves and Oklahoma National Guard, suggested giving college a chance. He told me to try it for a semester, and if that if I didn’t like it I could still enlist. Of course, I did like it and stayed in college and graduated.”
But the idea of enlisting stayed with him. In 2016, McGuire was at dinner with a college friend who was a recent graduate of the U.S. Marine Officer Candidate School. The two were members of the same fraternity at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. They knew each other well, and the friend said he had always been impressed with McGuire’s leadership and maturity.
“He told me that I would make a good military officer if that was the route I wanted to choose,” McGuire said. “He was always someone I had looked up to, and him telling me that I should do it was all the motivation that I needed.”
As he began to seriously consider OCS, McGuire started thinking about his application. The more research he did, the more he began to understand how competitive the application process could be. As part of looking for a way to stand out in a crowded field, he decided to earn his master’s degree from the Clinton School of Public Service.
“It was important for me to have as competitive an application as I could,” McGuire said. “I felt like a master’s degree was going to give me that edge. But it wasn’t the only reason. I grew up in an education family, and education has always been very important. I’d always intended on getting an extra degree, but I wanted to get started.”
McGuire’s experiences at the Clinton School went beyond improving the competitiveness of his OCS application. He completed his Capstone project with WSG consulting, a government relations and strategy firm in Little Rock. McGuire developed a growth plan for the firm, including building a contact list of potential clients and their unique goals for future legislative sessions. Additionally, he developed a grant strategy for the nonprofit Partners in Knowledge as part of his International Public Service Project. As a first-year student, he was part of a team that partnered with the Arkansas Department of Education to assess the department’s stakeholder engagement efforts in White County.
“I got so much from my experience from the Clinton School,” McGuire said. “I learned I want to do lobbying. Lobbying is what I want to do when I get back to Arkansas.”
Following boot camp and OCS, McGuire and his wife he will return to central Arkansas when he reports to his unit at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in North Little Rock, Ark., as a member of the Army Reserves.
“I am looking forward to the overall experience,” McGuire said of boot camp and OCS. “I would be lying if I said that I was not nervous, how could you not be? But I am also excited. I know that I am going to be tested more than I have ever been before, both mentally and physically.”
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