Lt. Patrick A. Towery '13Looking up into the sky on a Central American night after wrapping up a mission, I found myself pondering the same question that every other junior military officer asks themselves eventually. Am I truly prepared to lead soldiers and execute missions successfully? I reviewed my military and liberal arts education experiences and realized they have done just that.

While knowing how to fly Blackhawks and employ tactical knowledge in the operational environment is expected, being able to solve complex problem sets is what makes me successful. From planning missions in areas with limited aviation resources, to engaging with our various partner nations in the Central American region, I'm constantly in the thick of complex planning and personnel development processes for our Joint Forces who conduct various missions here.

Understanding the secondary and tertiary effects of micro and macro geopolitics helps shape the discourse and decision-making process for military units operating in environments like Central America. The consequences of decision-making in the military have very high stakes. Framing situations from a geographical perspective makes this profession a little safer and makes executing operations more effective.

The Bucknell geography faculty, as well as my other liberal arts mentors, provided me with a frame of reference to take a holistic approach toward leading soldiers and executing operations. I am incredibly grateful for how well Bucknell Army ROTC and the geography department prepared me to be a critical thinker and leader in our nation's Army.