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Matt Mabe, Class of 1998, Unexpected Change in Plans



As you know I went to West Point and graduated with a BS in Civil Engineering in 2002 as well as a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Directly after graduation, I worked at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans for a summer before heading off to four months of training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

In January 2003, I was stationed in Germany in the 54th Engineer Battalion, a unit with whom I remained for the rest of my time in the military.

In February 2003, the battalion deployed to Kuwait as part of the buildup of forces with 3rd Infantry Division. I was a combat engineer platoon leader and crossed the border into Iraq on the first day of the war. I would remain in Iraq doing a broad variety of missions all over the country for the next year.

In December 2003, I came back to Germany where I continued to live and work for almost two years. During that time, I was promoted twice (to captain) and traveled all over Europe.

In October 2005, I deployed again with my battalion to Ramadi, where we stayed for a year, performing the mission of clearing roadside bombs (IEDs) from the roads of Anbar province. It was during that time that I decided to become a journalist, I and applied to Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

When I got home from Ramadi in October 2006, I had seven months remaining in uniform and used my last days in Europe to do more traveling to places I had not been, mainly Eastern Europe and Russia.

In June 2007, I got out of the Army and took a summer off before beginning classes at Columbia in August. The program was only one year, and I graduated in May 2008 with an MS in journalism. During my last semester, I also interned as a reporter at The New York Times.

In June I headed for Paris to work as an intern reporter in BusinessWeek magazine's bureau there. Then in November, I took a job copy editing at the Moscow Times in Russia. But for various personal and professional reasons and some promising stateside job offers, I came back to the U.S. in December.

I began working as a reporter at The Star-Ledger newspaper in Newark, New Jersey, in January. I was just getting into my new beat covering the military when I got the letter from the Army that I was being called back.

So that's about it. It's been a short run as a civilian, but it looks like I will have to do a little more time in the service before I am free to live my life the way I truly want to.

Thanks again for all of your thoughts and prayers, and I hope to see you very soon.

(Matt is interviewed about a return to West Point in Newsweek - http://www.blog.newsweek.com/blogs/soldiershome/archive/2007/11/06/west-point-graduate-on-his-fifth-reunion.aspx)


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