Marines recognize Colgate junior for leadership potential
Monday, November 07, 2005

Ryan Colameo ’07 spent six grueling weeks this summer learning what it takes to be a leader.

He attended Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Va., with hundreds of other young men and women hoping to earn the opportunity to become an officer with the U.S. Marines.

When the 12-mile midnight hikes were over, the in-your-face verbal barrages by platoon sergeants had quieted, and the sleep-deprived blur of drills, classes, and chores, had finally found focus, it was the Colgate junior who stood above the rest.

Colameo graduated No.1, surpassing 296 others in his battalion and earning him the coveted Commandant’s Trophy. He will receive the trophy, which stays at Colgate for a year, at a ceremony during the Nov. 18 men’s hockey game.

“Ryan’s strong background in academics and athletics provided a solid foundation for his success at OCS, but his leadership potential is what set him apart from his peers,” said Capt. David Doucette, a recruitment officer based in Albany, N.Y.

The physical training and academic components each count for 25 percent of a candidate’s final grade, while the leadership evaluation counts for 50 percent.

Being in good physical condition and making the most of his free time at the hot and humid Quantico camp helped Colameo. He explained how challenging it was to function with little sleep and lots of stress, conditions that made the candidates struggle and platoon sergeants smile.

”When the lights went out at night, instead of talking with people for 30 minutes I would study my notes for as long as I could and then go right to sleep. I always had notes in my pocket, and I would keep studying, trying to remember everything,” said Colameo.

The school tries to simulate combat on some level and see how candidates react to situations when they are not at their best physically.

”It’s day after day of getting up around 4:30 in the morning, running around for three hours, sitting in classes all day long, doing drills. You are exhausted. It becomes a discipline battle just to keep awake,” said Colameo.

Having said all that, Colameo added: “It was a great experience, and I’m looking forward to going back next summer.”

After next summer’s six-week session, Colameo plans to return to Colgate to complete his degree in mathematics, accept his commission as a second lieutenant in the Marines, and move on to what is called The Basic School at Quantico for six months.

“This program let’s you try it for six weeks, and if it’s not for you, you go on your way. It happens to be me and everything I want, so I’m in it for the long haul,” said Colameo.

After The Basic School, Colameo is slotted to go to flight school in Pensacola, Fla., where he will train to become a Marine aviator.

Several other Colgate students attend Officer Candidates School including Kyle Stuart ‘06, Thomas Leonard ‘07, Ryan Harbison, Scott Nicholson ‘08, Parker Laite ‘06, and Reid Diamond ‘06.

Dave Peters '05 and Ramsey Brame '04 are graduates of the OCS program. Peters is in law school working toward becoming a Marine JAG (judge advocate general) and Brame is attending flight school in Pensacola.

Colameo, the first in his family to pursue a military career, believes his Colgate mathematics degree and flight school experience will be a good combination.

“I grew up in northern New Jersey; I watched the twin towers burn (9/11) and it hit me pretty hard. I wanted to do something about that and I’ve always wanted to do something with the military. It appeals to me, that way of life,” said Colameo.

Tim O'Keeffe
Office of Public Relations and Communications