While the U.S. Navy has no official motto, “Not Self But Country” is commonly cited. James “Greg” Schulze ’06 knows all about that. After six years of commissioned service and two years of training, Schulze embodies the values of honor, courage and commitment the Navy strives to instill.
Forging a Seafaring Path
Most Aggies pursuing military service begin by enrolling in the Corps of Cadets, but Schulze, a nuclear engineering graduate with a mathematics minor, was never a member. He joined the Navy through the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program (NUPOC), which recruits highly qualified individuals who are not in an ROTC program to become nuclear trained officers.
Following his May 2006 graduation, Schulze entered Officer Candidate School at the Florida Naval Air Station in Pensacola. After completing a 13-week training course, he received his commission as an ensign in the U.S. Navy and volunteered for submarine service.
“The training to become a “Navy nuke” is extremely rigorous and challenging,” Schulze said. “The difficulty of my degree from Texas A&M and the quality of my professors helped prepare me for that training both by setting the technical foundation and by instilling the work ethic required to succeed in that environment.”
Schulze’s most significant assignment to date was a three-year stint aboard the nuclear submarine USS Hampton (SSN 767) in San Diego, where he served as a nuclear trained submarine warfare officer.
“The Hampton is a “fast-attack” submarine or a “hunter-killer” submarine,” Schulze said. “We engaged in intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance operations during our top-secret missions on deployment.”
Schulze served on deployments to the Western Pacific—Japan, Korea and China—as well as to the Persian Gulf. Through port calls in Singapore, Japan, Saipan, Guam, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Pearl Harbor and Alaska, Schulze’s unconventional trip around the world gave him a new global perspective.
“The Navy has given me a lifetime of experience in a short amount of time, and for that I am extremely grateful,” Schulze said. “The Navy has deep roots in its history and its traditions, much like Texas A&M. Having been in a culture like that in college, it helped me understand and embrace the Navy.”
His time aboard the USS Hampton earned Schulze the Navy Commendation Medal and Navy Achievement Medal for outstanding performance.
An Aggie Enters Auburn
In June 2011, Schulze and his family—which includes his wife Kacy ’08, their 2-year-old daughter Adeline ’32, and another daughter due in February, Lily Belle ’35—were reassigned to the naval ROTC unit at Auburn University, where he teaches naval science classes while pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He also advises the midshipmen and officer candidates in Auburn’s ROTC program.
“I am in the unique position to mold and influence these future naval officers and leaders of America, and that is extremely rewarding,” Schulze said.
A perk for this Aggie’s new assignment is the opportunity to witness firsthand the merging of Texas A&M University with the Southeastern Conference (SEC). He has gauged reactions to the conference restructuring from two different perspectives.
“There is a notably different tone at Auburn about this season now that the Aggies joined the SEC. It spices up the conference, and excitement is building about the first time the schools play each other,” Schulze said. “The people have been very nice and welcoming about the move. If my wife or I was wearing an A&M shirt in town, we would normally get one person who would come up and welcome us to the SEC.”
Auburn fans are in for an eye-opening treat the first time they witness Aggie football traditions. From the sway of maroon and white to the unison formations of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, the game-day experience will be a sight the Tigers aren’t accustomed to seeing.
“The Aggies will play the best teams in the country, and that’s what you need to do to be the best,” Schulze said. “But the move isn’t just about football, or even athletics. This is a move that promotes the school as a whole. We will achieve more national coverage which will attract brighter students and faculty.”
Schulze predicts the Aggies versus Auburn football game on Oct. 27 will be a true SEC battle, but there’s no doubt who he’s rooting for—the Aggies are still his team.
By Dunae Crenwelge ’14
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