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Face of Defense: World-Class Rower Becomes Marine Officer

By Marine Corps Cpl. Jennifer Webster, 9th Marine Corps District DoD News, Defense Media Activity

GREAT LAKES, Ill., Sept. 1, 2016 — In the final of the men’s eight at the 2014 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Varese, Italy, the United States was first off the start. Then over the first half of the course, the U.S. men’s team remained in close contact with the reigning world champion crew from New Zealand. With 700 meters to go, New Zealand took it up a notch followed closely by Australia, coming on strong in the sprint challenging the U.S.

New Zealand crossed the line first, Australia second, and the U.S. finished just under two seconds behind the Aussies. Trevor Weaser and his teammates took home bronze medals, and not long afterward, he walked away from the sport to become a Marine Corps officer.

“I’ve been involved with [rowing] from a young age,” said Weaser, who earned a lieutenant’s commission as a recent graduate of the Marine Corps Officer Candidate Course. “… It’s always been a big part of my life.”

Officer Candidate Course, or OCC, is designed specifically for college graduates with ambitions to become a Marine Corps Officer. Candidates in this program attend a 10-week course at Officer Candidate School, or OCS, in Quantico, Virginia. Those who successfully graduate from OCS receive a commission as a Marine officer and begin attending The Basic School, or TBS.

Weaser, a native of Plymouth, Indiana, graduated with class OCC-222 Aug. 6, and was part of the largest OCS graduating class since 2009, according to Marine Corps Recruiting Command.

‘The Few and the Proud’

So what makes a world-class rower walk away from the sport and join the Marines?

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Retired Col. Warren Foersch, an infantry officer, mentored and talked to me about what it truly meant to become a part of the few and the proud,” Weaser said. “Things began lining up and I was fortunate to have a great officer selection officer who helped me get to the Officer Candidate School and here I am now.”

The path to earning a commission begins with the officer selection officer, or OSO, the best source of information regarding each and every person’s specific circumstances. The OSO also helps potential candidates decide which career path is right for them.

So why not join any other branch of military?

“I’ve had interactions with plenty of service members from other branches, but just the characteristics, traits and the way the Marines I knew carried themselves made me want to follow in their footsteps,” Weaser said. “I truly believe that the Marines are the strongest fighting force on the face of the earth and I wanted to be part of the strongest organizations there is.”

After winning bronze in the 2014 world championships, Weaser decided to continue training and aim for the Olympics, but shortly afterwards he made the self-realization that it wasn’t going to happen.

Training day in and day out, year after year, Weaser said he does not regret the time he invested in the sport he’s passionate about, because he accomplished something most athletes strive for and dream about their entire lives. He says the world championships were the highlight of his career.

“Being able to travel to Italy and win bronze representing our country; it’s an indescribable feeling,” he said.

Family Tradition of Excellence

Weaser says he admires the influential and successful people, both past and present, he’s been surrounded by. 

His mother, father, sister and grandfather are all former Division I college athletes. With a family of successful competitors, some would say Weaser had a strong name to uphold, but he says that was never the case.

“There was never any pressure for me to do anything as far as athletics goes,” he said. “But it was definitely an internal motivator to just compete and try and give it my all no matter what I was doing.”

Weaser says he owes his family everything.

“I don’t think I would’ve achieved half the things I have if I didn’t have the support of my family,” he said. “They are my biggest fans and my biggest supporters.”
Distribution channels: Military