Know Your Military

Face of Defense: Green to Gold

March 5, 2019

He's already been in the Army for 10 years. Now, Army Sgt. 1st Class Jacob McCormack is making a big transition —  he's working on becoming a commissioned officer while earning his bachelor's degree in communications. He's part of the Army's Green to Gold Active Duty Option Program, a two-year program that allows eligible, active-duty enlisted soldiers to remain on active duty as they complete a bachelor's degree or a two-year graduate degree and earn a commission as an Army officer.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Jacob McCormack
Hometown: Lake City, Florida
Unit: United States Army Student Detachment
Stationed: Bowie, Maryland
Job Title: Cadet

Army Cadet Jacob McCormack poses for a portrait.
Army Cadet
Army ROTC cadet Jacob McCormack is one of two Bowie State University, Md., Green to Gold soldiers training to become military officers. ROTC is offered at more than 1,700 colleges and universities across the United States, and prepares young adults to become commissioned officers in the military.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Marcus L. Stanley
VIRIN: 181217-D-MJ645-004C

Why did you join the military?

I joined the military basically because I wanted to get out of the small town I was from and, also, I was tired of working low-end jobs for salary and I wanted to try something different. I wanted to learn new skills and a tradecraft, so I chose the military and the Army specifically.

A soldier poses for a portrait photo.
Pvt. McCormack
Army Pvt. Jacob McCormack, right after joining the Army in 2008.
Photo By: Courtesy photo from Jacob McCormack
VIRIN: 080821-A-UJ895-120C

What made you decide to go to Bowie State University ROTC program?

I decided to go to Bowie because I was stationed here at Fort Meade. Bowie State is in the general vicinity, so I decided to stay local. I purchased a home here and, also, additionally my wife has a great job.

A soldier poses for a portrait photo.
Couple's Pose
Army Sgt. Jacob McCormack and his wife pose for a photo during an Army ball. McCormack is one of two Green to Gold soldiers in the Bowie State University, Md., ROTC program. The Green to Gold Active Duty Option Program is a two-year program that provides eligible, active-duty enlisted soldiers an opportunity to remain on active duty as they complete a baccalaureate degree or a two-year graduate degree and earn a commission as an Army officer.
Photo By: Photo courtesy of Jacob McCormack
VIRIN: 180425-O-ZZ999-003C

What's it like balancing cadet life and student life?

Balancing cadet life with Bowie State University requirements with my undergrad requirements is challenging. Time management is involved, you have to be able to balance your requirements with your education as well your requirements as a cadet but, ultimately it's doable, we have athletes, people in student government. I do volunteer work outside of school as well, so balancing and time management is a huge piece in making student life and cadet life work.

Being prior service for 10 years do you feel that you will be starting over as a second lieutenant?

I don't think of it as starting over as a second lieutenant, because I still have that experience and knowledge that I bring to the table. I think my experience and knowledge will contribute greatly to working with my future platoon sergeant having filled that position previously, so we should be able to work fluently to increase the readiness of the unit.

A soldier in a portrait.
Sergeant Stance
Army Sgt. Jacob McCormack as an Army noncommissioned officer before joining the Bowie State University, Md., ROTC program.
Photo By: Courtesy photo from Jacob McCormack
VIRIN: 100614-A-UJ895-120C

Video by Army Staff Sgt. Vanessa Atchley