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Extraordinary Game Day Experiences: Jacob Malone

Cadet Jacob Malone, senior from Spokane, Wash., double majoring in economics and political science with minors in entomology and military science, four-year national Army ROTC Scholarship, regular color guard member

ROTC uniform

This story is part of the series Extraordinary Game Day Experiences. Read more stories here. »

My time here has been filled with extraordinary moments and people, and I’ve really had the chance to step out of my comfort zone. Life is about experiences. Those I’ve had during my time here, I’ll remember forever. I’ve carried the colors many times for football, basketball and even volleyball. Each time, I’m proud of NC State University and our Army ROTC program – one of the nation’s best.

I decided I wanted to go to school somewhere in the Southeast, so I could experience something totally new and different than the quiet Pacific Northwest. During my senior year of high school I had the opportunity to look at several schools around North Carolina.

“I ultimately chose to go to school 2,600 miles from home because I was so impressed with the kind people, diversity and accomplished academic programs NC State offered.”
– Jacob Malone

NC State moments that especially stand out include carrying the American flag on to the football field in front of a full Carter-Finley Stadium for the football season opener; facing off with other ROTC teams from schools up and down the East Coast in the Ranger Challenge, a small-unit tactics competition; making great friends and establishing rivalries during countless seasons of intramural sports; and rushing the floor of PNC Arena after we beat Duke at home in men’s basketball my freshman year. I’m grateful to have been able to meet and work with extraordinary people, especially the peers in my class in Army ROTC, our active-duty instructors who make up the cadre – especially Master Sgt. Brian Robert, who is a true mentor to me – and Dr. Clyde Sorenson, who is surely one of the best professors to come through NC State. He inspired me to minor in entomology.

I swore in to ROTC during my first week as a freshman. I joined because I felt it was my duty to serve my country, and I wanted to see the world and have opportunities that I would not be afforded as a civilian. I decided to major in economics and political science because after I serve my time in the Army, I want to continue to serve my country. When I’m older, I aim to go into a career of politics. Vote Malone 2048!

There’s no way to explain all the most important and impactful experiences I’ve had here, but a few things stand out. The first would be going through the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency program (CULP). This program sends cadets all over the world to broaden their understanding of cultural diversity. I was chosen to go to Bulgaria, where I spent a month working closely with members of the Bulgarian military. This was one of the most enjoyable and enriching months of my life.

I also earned the opportunity to go to Air Assault School, a rigorous course that instructs, then assesses, students in three phases: aircraft orientation, sling-load operations and rappelling operations. It culminates in a 12-mile march that you must complete in under three hours, carrying a 40-pound pack. Finally, another highlight has been Army ROTC extracurricular activities such as Ranger Challenge and NC State Color Guard.

As someone who has been doing color guard for a few years, I usually carry the American flag. All other flags bow to the American flag during the national anthem and the cadet who holds it is in charge of the formation. Being out there is amazing. You don’t realize how big the stadium actually is until you’re on the field carrying the colors, looking up at thousands of people.

After I graduate, I will commission as a second lieutenant in the Army. My goal is to be an Infantryman until I’m eligible to try out for Special Forces. I intend to do a full 20 years, then go into politics and eventually run for public office. NC State’s respected and excellent programs in the Poole College of Management and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences are preparing me well for my career and life goals. Our Army ROTC program has commissioned more officers who have gone on to become generals than any institution except West Point. Our cadre are extremely devoted and do everything in their power to ensure each cadet enters the force as the best officer he or she can be.

NC State and ROTC have truly offered me the chance to broaden my horizons.