Young Alumni Series

Nathan Lundquist ’17: From Cadet to Lieutenant

By February 20, 2019 No Comments

Nathan Lundquist ’17 wakes up at 5 a.m. in order to participate in physical training by 6:20 am as a part of his daily routine in the army.

As an infantry officer, Lundquist holds a number of jobs, spends hours in the office planning, prepares training schedules and future operations fall to him. Because Lunquist entered the army from ROTC, he was commissioned as a lieutenant straight from Auburn.

“You’re instantly treated with more respect from others – even if they don’t necessarily respect you as a person, they respect the rank that you earned.”

Entering at a higher rank gave Lundquist an opportunity to affect those beneath him. There is a sense of team, too, that comes in the Army.

“In ROTC, it is always preached to live by the principles of the 3 M’s; the mission, the men and finally me,” Lundquist said.  “So long as you put the mission, and your soldiers before you, you will be successful. I enjoy seeing the impact that I can make on other soldiers.”

Lunquist’s entry into the army was natural for him after leaving Auburn and the ROTC program. Although more prepared than some, there were still adjustments, such as the new lack of sleep and energy, he said.

“Army ROTC dominated my life at Auburn and kept me very busy,” Lundquist said. “I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be involved with the Color Guard that happens on the field at Jordan Hare before each football game, and also was in charge of the detail that posts Cadets outside the Presidential Suite, so I had ample opportunity to interact with the Executives of the University and the top donors.”

While with the color guard, Lundquist had field access before the 2016 home game against LSU, then watched the game from the front row and celebrated on the field with players after the win.

Growing up in Fort Drum, N.Y. surrounded by military families, deployment was a natural part of Lundquist’s life as his childhood friends left with their parents.

“Growing up and seeing that, it just strengthened my love for our country and developed a desire to do my part and give a part of my life in service to the Army. There are days that my job no doubt frustrates me, and there are days that I question why I did this to myself, but all in all, I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve this great nation and protect the freedoms we’ve become accustomed to.”

He visited Auburn for the first time as a senior in high school. Though he had already committed to Cornell University in New York, as he explored campus he became enamored. When Lundquist realized that Cornell was not the best fit for him, two years later, he applied to Auburn.

“I think the hardest thing about adjusting to Auburn was getting out of my New York mentality and really adopting to the Southern way of life. I remember driving down from New York and stopping at a McDonalds in South Carolina; I was taken aback at how [slow] everything seemed to operate, and it took a long time for me to get used to that.”

Although Lundquist’s entire life is now dedicated to the Army with 11-hour work days, he can see himself in aviation in the future.

“I feel as if, while I matured a lot at Auburn, I’ve matured even more since graduation. Auburn was a great stepping stone that set me up to be a responsible young adult, but I feel like the military has really molded me into being more responsible and respectful of others.”