Since graduating from UT in 1994, Maj. Jonathan Beasley has patrolled the demilitarized zone in Korea, served with a peacekeeping unit in Kosovo, helped prepare thousands of soldiers for deployments, and saw action serving in Iraq and twice in Afghanistan.
Now he’s serving as professor and chair of the Military Science Department at his alma mater.
Beasley started his new post July 16. He took over for Lt. Col. Brandee Lockard.
“Lt. Col. Lockard went to Fort Meade, Maryland, and she’ll be taking command of a Military Intelligence Battalion, which is an excellent opportunity and career step,” Beasley said. “Lt. Col. Lockard left a great program that commissioned 15 officers this year and is on track to commission 21 next year.”
There are more than 130 students in the department, according to Beasley, who will teach officership to senior cadets. He plans to teach military history next fall as well.
It wasn’t that long ago Beasley was a student and cadet at the University.
“There wasn’t a lot of money in the family, so I enlisted in the Ohio Army National Guard to get the GI Bill to go to college,” he said. “I served with the 323rd Military Police Company right here in Toledo. In 1990, we were one of the first Guard units called up during the Gulf War. We were sent to Germany so units on active duty there could go to the Gulf.”
In 1994, he graduated from University College with a bachelor of science degree in individualized studies focusing on geography, political science and history. And he was commissioned a second lieutenant.
“The Army made me grow up, that’s probably the best thing. It taught me to be responsible for myself. It allowed me to do college on my own. The confidence and the friendships, and I’ve had the opportunity to travel to amazing places — I just wouldn’t have imagined a boy from Lambertville, Michigan, who wasn’t supposed to amount to anything being where I am today, and it’s all because of the military.
“The American dream still exists in the military because as hard as you work, that’s as far as you’ll go in the military,” Beasley said.
While stationed at Fort Polk, La., he took classes at Louisiana State University, graduating in 2005 with a master of arts degree in history. His ultimate goal: teaching.
Armed with the master’s degree, a recent combat tour and enough years of service, Beasley applied for an academic position in military science and received his first choice: UT.
He has some plans for the cadets.
“I want to raise the GPA of the overall battalion, focus on the academics a little bit more,” Beasley said. “I didn’t realize how many things I had to put my GPA on throughout my career. Many of the cadets will compete for master’s programs later on in life, and their GPA will be a factor in helping them.”
The major also wants the students to be more visible.
“We definitely want to get more involved with the campus and the local community. When I was here, it was ROTC, ROTC, ROTC. We really didn’t do a whole lot with the campus or community,” he said. “We’re going to show our support at the football games, try to get involved with the Veterans Day parade, even support the local Habitat for Humanity.
“A lot of these cadets, even the ones who decide not to stay in ROTC all four years, participate not to just have fun but to fulfill a sense of service and citizenship. The pace of the Army today is such that the cadets may not have that opportunity for several years once they graduate. For many, it will be a few years before they are able to volunteer and support their local community.”
Beasley also is a believer of instilling the basics.
“We teach leadership and confidence as well as citizenship and pride,” he said. “My goal is even if a cadet only does one semester or one year or doesn’t see the Army as a career, he or she walks away with a sense of pride, a sense of accomplishment.”