Ephs choose to serve country after graduation

With 100 Days over and spring break fast approaching, seniors are no doubt thinking, perhaps a little frantically, about what they are going to do when they have to enter the real world. Henry Montalbano ’10 and Tim Bishop ’10 know exactly what they want to do – and it doesn’t involve commuting to a small cubicle every day, or at least not yet. They plan to join the military.

Both Montalbano and Bishop seem very enthusiastic about their future careers. Montalbano wants to be in the Army, and Bishop is currently trying to decide between the Army and the Marines. This determination to join the armed forces is rare at a liberal arts college. “When I tell people that I want to join the military, people usually offer a very polite response, but at the same time they’re wondering, ‘Well, why is this kid coming to Williams and then joining the army?’” Montalbano said.

Their reasons for attending Williams in the first place, however, were quite similar to those of any other student on campus: They wanted a very good education, both of them wanted to play football here and it was a good opportunity. In high school, neither Bishop nor Montalbano were prepared for the regimented immersion of a military college because they were not yet completely certain that they wanted military careers.

However, both of them are now certain that they want to become officers, and are eager to get their military careers going. “Obviously it’s an unconventional track, but I feel like it’s something I wanted to do badly,” Montalbano said. “Having a Williams education is very important and I value it very much, but for me military service trumps anything that I’ve done, or anything that I have.” Bishop likewise values his liberal arts education, but knows that he’s ready to focus in on what on what he truly loves. “I love Williams, but I’m excited to move on the next phase and meet new people, get on with what I want to do,” he said.

Although confident that they want to join the military right after college, Bishop and Montalbano are somewhat less sure whether they want to pursue permanent military careers or do something else afterwards. “Right now, it’s kind of hard to tell because the military grants you a lot of opportunities, and there are a lot of career moves you can do beyond that, especially in the government,” Bishop said. “Then again, there’s always the chance that I get into and really enjoy what I do, and want to do it for the rest of my career.” Both of them are interested in either political or governmental positions, should they choose to retire from the military.

One of the many benefits of being in the military is the opportunity to go all over the world. Both Bishop and Montalbano are currently in their third year of studying Arabic at the College, in part to give themselves mobility abroad. Bishop, who has only been out of the country once to go to St. Martin, said that he is very excited to see more of the world. Montalbano agreed. “It would be a great experience to be stationed abroad for a period of time, not as a civilian,” he said. “It would be interesting to see how people from other cultures react to a member of the U.S. military. For better or for worse, I think it would be a very valuable and interesting experience.”

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