Jake Garrison '08
One of the great things about going to watch Northwood’s teams play in hockey tournaments is the chance to catch up with alumni who find themselves by chance or deliberately at the rinks where we’re playing. That was certainly true at the Beantown Classic last week in Marlborough, Mass. One graduate whom I hadn’t seen in years was Jake Garrison from the class of ’08.
Like many of our hockey players nowadays, after Northwood Jake played Junior Hockey (he was an assistant captain of two squads) before playing ACHA hockey at Kennesaw State University, where he earned a full ROTC scholarship and from which he graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice.
Jake began his military career as Second Lieutenant in the Military Police before moving to Special Ops after learning Levantine- Arabic and becoming a Civil Affairs Team Leader with the rank of Captain. Most recently, his team deployed to Jordan in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. His four-man team directly aids in counter-violent extremism efforts in areas vulnerable for exploitation by terrorist recruiting cells. The Team led over fifteen tactical missions. In official terms, Civil Affairs Teams advise on and implement Civil-Military Operations in support of U.S. objectives in peacetime, contingencies, and war. The teams deploy all over the world, often alone and unafraid, in support of Special Operations to directly interact with the civilian populace to support future kinetic operations. He is currently Detachment Commander of his Brigade’s Advanced Skills Detachment.
He told me that he is married to an “amazing wife”, Morgan, a Major in the Army, and they have an adopted ten-year-old son, Chase, (Jake coaches his son’s 10U travel team) and a three-year-old daughter, Adalynne, who is just starting gymnastics and hopes to play hockey. They are all fans of the Carolina Hurricanes. Jake still plays hockey for the Fort Bragg hockey team himself.
Jake also loves serving as a volunteer firefighter for the Stoney Point Fire Department and has given thought to someday serving with Cambridge Fire Department near Boston.
He passes on this advice to current students: “Immerse yourselves in the opportunities to be leaders, whether in sports, in the dorm as an RA, on the disciplinary committee, or even by planning a day trip. Take this opportunity with your closest friends to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, and you will surprise yourself with how much that trait will set you apart. Never forget how it feels to be a teammate and take that feeling with you any time you’re a leader. You may be in charge, but you are brothers and sisters and your team’s success rides on their desire, trust, and willingness to follow you into any situation.”