2013 Tillman Scholar
Captain West responded to the call to serve during his freshman year of college when his cousin, Lance Corporal Patrick Kenny, was killed in action in Iraq. Reflecting on the fact that his uncle had also made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam and his grandfather had spent over two years in a Nazi prisoner of war camp, he felt a deep sense of duty. He joined the ROTC program, completed the Infantry Officer Course, and earned the Thurman Award as the honor graduate of the Army Reconnaissance Course. He served as a Platoon Commander on the 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS Mesa Verde from 2010 to 2011, leading the Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel Force in support of the NATO aerial campaign over Libya. Concurrently, he helped enlisted Marines pursue college degrees by teaching accredited economics courses aboard ship. He then served as Executive Officer of India Company, 3d Battalion, 9th Marines as it mentored Afghan forces to assume lead security responsibility and executed counter-narcotics missions in Marjah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan from 2012 to 2013.
For those who aspire to lead Marines, the message is abundantly clear from the beginning: “It’s not about you.” Inspired by this ethos of servant leadership, Captain West hopes to contribute in the future by working to share the virtues that Marines practice daily, in order to help civil society flourish. He is currently pursuing joint JD and MBA degrees at Harvard University, where he serves as a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics and an Editor of the Harvard Law Review.