Highly educated Marine values role on front line

Jon Rabiroff
Stars and Stripes

GARMSIR DISTRICT, Afghanistan — Marine Capt. Nicholas Schmitz uses a plastic bag for a toilet, showers in foul-smelling well water and often leads his platoon on patrol on the front line in the war against the Taliban.

And, for fun, he was recently reading Ludwig Wittgenstein’s “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.”

Schmitz is a study in contrasts. But then, what would you expect from someone who went from being a high school dropout to a Rhodes Scholar?

Asked why he prefers being a captain in the Marine Corps to being a captain of industry, Schmitz said: “Job satisfaction. I mean, really, out here you go to bed at night knowing you did something, most days.”

An Oxford University graduate who holds a master’s degree in philosophy, Schmitz, 28, of Bethesda, Md., is now the commanding officer of the 1st Platoon for the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines Company E, stationed at Patrol Base Hernandez in Garmsir district in Helmand province.

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