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MU student Eric Schwarz commissioned in Navy

Chemical engineering graduate student Eric Schwarz was commissioned as an ensign in the United States Navy at a ceremony held in Crowder Hall, home of NROTC on the MU campus. Pinning on his “butter bars” at his commissioning ceremony are Rita Preckshot, who works as support staff in the Chemical Engineering Department, and Phillip Silverman, an MU chemistry instructor who serves in the Navy Reserve as a lieutenant commander.

When Eric Schwarz left Navy active duty in 2003 after six years of service, he didn’t plan to re-enlist — nor did he imagine he would ever be commissioned as an Engineering Duty Officer candidate.

But for Schwarz, the cogs of life brought him back to early passions and interests. He was commissioned as an Engineering Duty Officer candidate at Crowder Hall on Sept. 27.

Schwarz, who grew up in Naples, Fl., enlisted when he was 17 years old after a recruiter spoke at his high school.

“We talked about nuclear propulsion and the future of nuclear energy. I was really interested in it,” he said.

After he served on the USS La Jolla at Pearl Harbor, he attended Penn State and received his undergraduate degree in chemistry while working part-time as a licensed senior reactor operator. Then he decided to come to the University of Missouri College of Engineering’s chemical engineering department for graduate work.

“MU Engineering has a reputation of being on the forefront of nuclear energy,” Schwarz said.

After realizing he had six-and-a-half years of federal service experience already under his belt, he knew he could use his engineering expertise to benefit the Navy.

“I wanted to build on the skills I have acquired and let the Navy use those skills for something good,” Schwarz said.

So he re-enlisted in January 2009 and later applied for a commission in the US Navy to serve as the leading petty officer for the administrative division in the St. Louis “Surgemain” Unit. This unit is one of many across the country that provide direct support to shipyards by utilizing civilian and military skills to reduce overall operating costs of fleet maintenance.

Currently, the Navy is looking for more people to apply for these positions.



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