November 7, 2018

Soaring High with the Air Force ROTC and UWS

Brady Durnan, Legal Studies Major

Brady Durnan, Legal Studies Major

Love for country and service has led Brady Durnan (’20 Legal Studies major) to pursue a military career.

As far back as Brady Durnan can remember, he wanted to join the military. “I was originally interested in the Army, probably because of the action heroes I used to play with,” he laughed. “But, my stepdad served in the Air Force for 20 years and got me interested in that branch instead.”

He said he’s also always been passionate about his country, the Constitution, and all they stand for. “It’s just part of who I am,” he said. “I really relate to the military’s motto, ‘Mission First. People Always.’”

Brady Durnan in the VNSC

A Clear Choice

Recognizing that his own ambitions and values were a good match for the military, Brady then had to decide whether to enlist after high school or enter the Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC). With his stepdad’s encouragement, he decided he wanted to become an officer, so the ROTC was the best fit, allowing him to go to college and pursue a military career simultaneously.

Having grown up in Pennsylvania, Brady is often asked how he found his way to UWS. “It was an easy decision,” he said. “I only applied to one school because I didn’t want to go anywhere else. There are lots of people in my family who’ve gone to school here for generations before me and they’ve all had great experiences. Also, my stepdad’s family homestead is about an hour from here and he and my mom recently moved there, so it’s kind of like my family came along with me.”

A Balancing Act

Brady thrives on organization and a busy schedule, which is a good thing because balancing college and ROTC duties can be grueling. He gets up at 5 a.m. three times a week to drive to the University of Minnesota Duluth where his detachment meets and he attends classes on leadership, military procedures and policies. He serves as a trainer for newer cadets and hopes to become a Wing Commander next year, the highest position in the detachment.

“It’s all well worth it to me,” said Brady. “I hope to become a pilot in the Air Force and I feel like the ROTC has given me a great start toward that goal. I’m also taking flying lessons at Monacco Air in Duluth.”

In return for his service, Brady receives tuition reimbursement from the Air Force. He was also awarded the General Charles C. McDonald and Col. Karl Moravek Scholarship and the Mr. and Mrs. Donald C. and Dorothy J. Peterson Scholarship through the UW-Superior Foundation, and works as a Resident Assistant (R.A.) in Ostrander Hall, which covers the cost of room and board.

“All of the financial benefits I’ve received have been vital for me to continue my education,” he said. “Sadly, a family member spent money that my grandmother had set aside for my sister’s and my education without anyone knowing,” he said. “I share that because it was a tough time in my life and I am grateful for the ROTC leadership training and financial support I received that helped me get over that hurdle. Maybe others will be able to relate to similar experiences and benefit by knowing there are options through the military.”

Brady said he feels completely supported and at home at UWS. “We wear our uniforms to school every Thursday and I never feel like people look at me strange or treat me differently. My professors support my ROTC commitment and I’ve found all the resources and services I needed here. It’s really a tight-knit, supportive community.”

Brady Durnan, Legal Studies Major

Brady Durnan, Legal Studies Major

UW-Superior has been recognized as a Military Friendly School for nine years and a Best for Vets School by Military Times. The Veterans and Nontraditional Students Center is committed to assisting veteran and nontraditional students throughout their academic journey.



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