Alumnus transitions from theatre guild to Marine Corps

Alumnus Jack Newsham during his Marine Combat Training. (Photo from Jack Newsham)

Kevin Killeen

He was the carefree kid from Shrewsbury, he used to ride his bike to high school. He used to DJ for some of the school dances, and he was the toe-tapping Josein the musical “Urinetown.”

Now, alumnus Jack Newsham, 19, is a US Marine.

“My mom said it was one of the last things she saw me doing,” said Newsham.

Newsham grew up around the theater. When he was four, his mom starting taking him to her play rehearsals, and he soon developed a love for tech theatre and acting.

“My entire family does acting,” said Newsham. “We’ve all been in shows.”

In high school, Newsham acted in the musical Urinetown, two One Act Play, DJed two dances and was drama teacher Todd Schaefer’s “go to” sound guy for all of his four years.

“I love Jack,” said Schaefer. “He was a comedian. He was in one of my first Advance Tech classes that actually got stuff done.”

Newsham had his own sound crew freshman year, and by the time he was a senior, he was getting paid to do soundboard for school events and DJ mixers. However, despite Newsham’s knack for the sound board, and his ability to lighten up any play with his comic relief, he chose to pursue a career in the military.

“Everybody respected Marines, and it’s what I wanted to do,” said Newsham. “It honestly just popped in my head one day, so I talked to my recruiter.”

Once accepted into the Marines, Newsham had to attend boot camp at Camp Leguene in North Carolina.

“It was nuts,” said Newsham describing boot camp. “The culture shock was really big. You got dropped off the bus, and they immediately start screaming at you.”

One of Newsham’s favorite part about boot camp was the food. Although bootcamp is well known for issuing small portioned meals, 134, pound Newsham was placed on double rations.

“The food is all protein, carbs and starch, and all we had to drink was water,” said Newsham. “There’s no pizza and french fries here.”

However, just as Newsham was able to adjust the food and culture shock, he has also made adjustments and been able to express leadership as a Marine.

“I’m one of the Marines that talks a lot, and gets stuff done,” said Newsham. “I try to express leadership.”

Newsham’s Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is a landing support specialist. During assaults on beaches, he will help land troops and equipment, and he also helps hook supplies up to helicopters. While not in action, Newsham helps supervise the loading and transportation of troops at an airport in Camp Leguene.

“My instructors have been saying this is an MOS where you need to be a leader,” said Newsham. “Being on stage and having people watch me helped me have more confidence and be less nervous.”

Newsham advised those considering a career in the military to “start talking to people, and get ready for a crazy culture shock, because it will be nuts.”

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