By sean everetteNovember 18, 2013
HONOLULU, Hawaii -- The afternoon of Oct. 29 was not a typical afternoon for Maj. Nathan Jacobs, Judge Advocate for 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. The afternoon was spent downtown at the University of Hawaii -- Manoa, not in his office. Jacobs had been invited to be a guest lecturer for UH's Reserve Officer Training Corps.
"Having an officer like Maj. Nate Jacobs come down from 2nd Brigade to support Army ROTC at the University of Hawaii is like having a key enabler that you would need on a battlefield in order to come in and completely destroy the enemy," said Maj. John Carson, the new Professor of Military Science at UH-Manoa. "His ability to be able to come in and add value and realism based on his background, based on everything he knows as an Army officer and as a JAG lawyer, and enable and enhance our instruction at the University of Hawaii ROTC is absolutely critical."
Jacobs is no stranger to teaching college students or cadets. While this is first time as a guest instructor in Hawaii, he spent three years as a professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point. His topics this day were Military Justice and Law of War.
"I'm very excited to have the opportunity to do this and ensure it's done right, because it's something that not every cadet gets," Jacobs said. "It's part of the standard curriculum at West Point, where it's a semester-long class, but you don't have the opportunity with ROTC cadets to give them the same amount of training. I'm excited to ensure that they get a baseline legal training that cadets at a different university may not get, because there are some immediate things they need to learn as lieutenants so that they get them right, and there's also the long-term development of setting them up for success as commanders someday."
Most of the cadets attending the lecture, all of whom are seniors and will receive their commissions in May of next year, felt the same way.
"Classes like these are invaluable, especially when you're dealing with a lot of cadets who don't have prior service experience," said Cadet Lt. Joseph Keliihananui, a former Army staff sergeant with 12 years of prior service. "It will give them a leg up on what they'll know as the left and right limits of a lieutenant in respect to [Rules of Engagement], the Law of War, and everything down to performing investigations and health and welfare inspections."
This is not the first time Carson, former executive officer at 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd SBCT, has reached out to his old brigade to bring his cadets training from those with first-hand experience. Earlier in the semester, he had a platoon leader and platoon sergeant come and talk to the cadets.
"I like the new PMS's way of bringing active duty Soldiers down here to give us briefings," Keliihananui said. "He's a liaison between 2nd Brigade because of his experience over there, and now being the commanding officer of our ROTC battalion. It will be invaluable to cadets, because the more exposure they get to active duty enlisted and officers, the more prepared they will be when they commission."
At the end of the day, Jacobs was just happy to have had a chance to help these future lieutenants.
"It's exciting to do something positive and fun to help future leaders in the Army," Jacobs said.