Veteran’s Corner

Veteran%27s+Corner

by Bailey Earls, Special to The Simpsoninan

November is National Veterans and Military Families Month. Simpson College recognizes and supports military personnel and veterans for their service. This week’s spotlight is junior Jeremiah Gates.  

What are your hometown and high school?  

My hometown is split between Wrightstown, Wisconsin, and Grinnell, Iowa. I grew up most of my life in Wisconsin, but I graduated high school in Grinnell, Iowa. 

 What branch are you serving in? When did you join? 

I am in the United States Army National Guard but was in the Active Army (Regular Army) for 10 years. I am a Sergeant First Class in the Special Forces and plan to return to Active Duty after graduation. I joined my junior year of high school in 2008. I then left for basic, 10 days after graduation in 2009.   

What has your experience been like? Do you have any memories of your experience?  

Given the fact that I have 10 years of service, I have had a wide range of experience. I was stationed in Georgia, Colorado, North Carolina, Florida and Germany. I have also been stationed in the Middle East, where I earned a Bronze Star, and South America on multiple deployments. I have had plenty of amazing memories and some not so good ones. I have traveled all over the States and in Germany; to include a few beer festivals and other local events. I hiked and skied in the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachian Mountains and the Bavarian Alps.   

When I was still 18, I was deployed to Afghanistan for the first time. It was an awakening for me. I obviously realized the dangers of war and the darker side of the world. However, terrible events early in the deployment would put me in the position to be the youngest leader in the company. This forced me to mature a lot faster than I wanted to, but it also put me on a competitive path in the military. I quickly climbed in rank and position by working with some of the best soldiers in my units, and they convinced me to try out for Special Forces and Ranger School. In which I passed both.   

Why did you enlist? 

The Army was always a dream of mine from when I was extremely young. I remember watching old westerns or war movies with my Dad. He also wanted me to be a soldier.

How or why did you choose Simpson? 

I decided to go to Simpson on the recommendation of a lifelong friend. Although he had graduated from Simpson a long time ago, he had great things to say about the campus and the professors here. I also wanted to try my hand at football which, Coach Jeter, the football program, and Simpson has graciously allowed me to do. Simpson has also received a high rating from the Military for Veteran Friendly schools. If I remember correctly, Simpson was also in the top 10 Military recommended schools in Iowa. 

When did/will you graduate college? 

I will graduate in December of 2021.  

Any advice for those who are considering service? 

It is important to have a reason. Whether it is to pay for college, a family legacy, or a personal dream, you need a reason. There will be times you hate life or want to quit, but if you have something to push you forward, you will be fine.

Simpson College thanks Jeremiah for his service.