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LOHS grad shines at West Point

David Grossman finishes military academy in top 1 percent of his class

SUBMITTED PHOTOS - David Grossman got the opportunity to shake hands with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during his West Point graduation ceremony.A former Lake Oswego resident has graduated from the storied U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in the top 1 percent of his class.

Newly commissioned 2nd Lt. David Daniel Grossman, a member of the Lake Oswego High School Class of 2012, pocketed stacks of honors and awards while at West Point. He says it was his time at LOHS that helped prepared him to be competitive at one of the top schools in the nation.

“Lake Oswego really did a fantastic job,” says Grossman, 22. “I think part of it was that the diversity of courses I was able to take at Lake Oswego really gave me a solid base and prepared me for West Point. ... Also, the quality of teachers is really fantastic.”

Grossman, who earned his bachelor’s in economics, says he got his first taste of the subject when LOHS offered him AP economics, along with a plethora of advanced science classes.

His accolades include successfully landing the coveted position of second-in-command of West Point’s 4,400 cadets as the deputy brigade commander. For his achievement, he received the Lt. Col. Len M. Hanawald Memorial Award.

Grossman is also the highest-rated cadet in military science in his class, which earned him the Gen. John J. Pershing Memorial Award. Military science courses include tactics and strategy classes.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - David Grossman has received the Lt. Col. Len M. Hanawald Memorial Award and the Gen. John J. Pershing Memorial Award.In addition, Grossman was a finalist for a Rhodes scholarship and a George C. Marshall scholarship.

To heighten his academic strengths, he took a certification course with the FBI in crisis negotiation, a slightly shorter version than what FBI trainees go through themselves. He also participated in the West Point Negotiation Project, teaching Navy Seals at Coronado Island (Naval Special Warfare Command) principled negotiation skills. The idea is to seek the best possible outcome for everyone, which differs from tit-for-tat positional bargaining, Grossman says.

Another of his achievements is spending four months as an exchange student at the Spanish military academy in Zaragoza, Spain, honing his Spanish skills while developing knowledge of an important U.S. ally.

During his senior year at the academy, Grossman served as the captain of the varsity men’s Army Crew Team, which had the most successful season it’s had in the past decade, he says. He also was a member of the West Point Model United Nations Team.

While he was with LOHS, Grossman served with the Junior State of America and Model United Nations, and he also participated with Lake Oswego Community Rowing for four years. He was a percussionist and pianist in the school band. He also earned the rank of Eagle Scout while with Troop 221; the community service project he completed for the rank involved designing and constructing a raised planting bed at the entrance to the community garden at Luscher Farm in West Linn.SUBMITTED PHOTO - As a young Boy Scout in Troop 221 in Lake Oswego, David Grossman achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. His scoutmaster at the time, George Stephan, and Lisa Keeling, then-chairwoman of the committee for the troop, were mentors who helped with the Eagle Scout process.

Grossman will next attend the Infantry Basic Officer Leaders Course and undergo Army Ranger School and Airborne School training at Fort Benning in Georgia. He’s tentatively slotted to join the Sky Soldiers in the 173rd Airborne Division in Vicenza, Italy, pending completion of the three courses.

He says a complex network of people who believed in him helped him accomplish his goals.

“Both of (my parents), and my brother and a number of other people, really were an unbelievably wonderful support network,” he says. “West Point was probably the most rigorous four years of my life, and having them support me with whatever I needed and for whatever whenever” played a role in his success.

His father Carl is in construction management, and his mom Sarah was a classically trained chef who stopped working to look after her sons. Grossman says he ate very well as a child.

Neither of his parents served in the military. And though his two grandfathers served in World War II, the idea of vying for a place at West Point didn’t occur to him until his older brother Skyler looked at the school.

“He’s been a wonderful role model for me,” Grossman says.

His brother chose to study government and economics at Claremont McKenna and eventually became an account executive at LinkedIn, but something about West Point stuck with Grossman.

“The idea of service resonated with me, and it was something that I really wanted to do, so the combination of wanting to serve and, obviously, the fabulous opportunities at West Point were enough to really sell me on it,” he says.

By Jillian Daley
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