Achievement in the Liberal Arts – Reunion 2010
Many people don’t think of the military in conjunction with the liberal arts, but Major General Robert Schmidle can prove them wrong any day. His life has continued to include scholarship, as he has progressed from a history major at Drew to high-ranking service in the U.S. Marines.
A short stint in the business world after graduation did not inspire Robert; he had always wanted to serve his country; and he wanted to fly. After his first assignment to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 333, he served as instructor pilot, Operations Officer, Aircraft Maintenance Officer, and, in 1990, as Executive Officer in Southwest Asia for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 1993 he deployed to Aviano, Italy, as the Commanding Officer of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251. He led the squadron flying missions in support of Operations Deny Flight, preventing the Serbians from flying in Bosnia, and Provide Promise, delivering goods to Bosnian Serbs in snow-bound mountains. In 1998 he commanded the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force, responsible for conducting warfighting experiments.
His staff appointments have included Military Secretary to both the 32nd and 33rd Commandants of the Marine Corps, and Director of the Expeditionary Force Development Center. He served as Commanding General, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing from June 2007 to July 2008, before becoming Assistant Deputy Commandant for Programs and Resources and the Marines’ lead for the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review. He has received numerous medals and commendations.
Scholarship is a continuing part of Robert’s life. He is a distinguished graduate and former faculty member of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College—where he realized how well Drew taught him to write. He is also a distinguished graduate of the Marine Corps War College. The author of numerous publications, he earned an M.A. in philosophy from American University, and is now pursuing a interdisciplinary doctorate combining social psychology, philosophy, and literature at Georgetown University. His greatest satisfactions, aside from family, have come from the challenges of command; from reading, writing, and publishing; and from serving our country.
Robert and Pamela Jutkus Schmidle C’74 live in Washington, D.C. Pamela, a special education teacher, is now on the faculty of George Washington University. They have two sons: Nicholas (married to Rikki), a prize-winning journalist specializing in terrorism and Middle Eastern affairs, and Captain Christian Schmidle, USMC, who is moving to the Special Forces after serving two tours in Iraq. It’s clear that “Drew and Do” has been vital to Bob’s and Pam’s lives, and they have passed on the ideal of thoughtful public service to their children.