Alumnus serves country as officer in U.S. Army
By Glenn Solomon, from generationSUNY
Daniel Solomon '07 served in the United States Army for six years, climbing the ranks to reach the rank of staff sergeant.
Solomon graduated from Binghamton University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in economics. After graduation, he enlisted in the Army Reserves. His path was an exceptional one. After boot camp, he went through a plethora of training exercises, eventually spending 47 weeks at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) learning Farsi.
After graduation from DLI, Solomon completed one tour of duty in Iraq, where he led a small group of younger soldiers in an effort to enhance force protection and protect soldiers and civilians from terrorist threats. After one year, he returned home to his family and continued his military training.
While overseas, Solomon's thirst for knowledge grew strong. The foundation that Binghamton University helped him build led to his acceptance into Columbia University, where he is enrolled in a dual major program to receive an MBA and a master's degree in international affairs.
Why did you choose to attend Binghamton University instead of going directly into the U.S. Army?
It was important to my family that I receive a college education. I had been accepted into Binghamton, which was such a great opportunity, and I knew the military would still be there when I was done. It turned out to be a great choice because being a bit older and having some experience living away from home made the transition to the military much easier.
What sparked your interest in joining the military?
Patriotism. After the attacks of Sept. 11, I felt helpless. Then, seeing U.S. troops on TV shortly after in Afghanistan and then Iraq, I felt a sense of duty — the feeling that there is no reason why I shouldn't be there supporting my country and fighting for our freedoms.
What were some of your tasks while in the military?
Training, a lot of training - weapons training, cultural training and language training. As I progressed through the ranks, in my opinion, my most important task was to train and mentor the soldiers in my unit. Above all else, making sure you are there for the guy to your left and the guy to your right.
Overall, how did your college education help prepare you for life and your military career?
Going to college was the first time I lived away from home. Though the situation was much different, college dorms and Army barracks have a lot in common. At Binghamton, you meet a very diverse group of people and you make friends with people from all walks of life; the Army was the same. Also, the education I received at Binghamton gave me a good framework to approach problems and drive toward solutions.
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