Augustana lost a leader last Saturday, but the United States Air Force found one.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet,” said Ryan Schuetz, who graduated in December. “I’m a second lieutenant.”
The Greta, Neb. native studied government and international affairs and joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) the first year the Air Force ROTC Detachment 780 from South Dakota State University offered the program to Augustana students.
Ryan’s younger brother, Cadet First Class Matthew Schuetz, will graduate as lieutenant from the United States Air Force Academy in May. He describes Ryan as “intense and driven,” competetive even when they were kids.
“We always played tag football in our backyard, or tackle, as it would turn into sometimes,” Matthew Schuetz said. “But touch games of football turned into the Super Bowl – it was that important to him, even as a 10-year-old.”
Ryan played quarterback for Augustana, but also remained dedicated to his schoolwork. He commuted to Brookings for 7 a.m. class and kept up with regular coursework, and learned Arabic one summer in San Diego through Air Force Project GO (Global Officer). He continued studying the language for more than two months in Amman, Jordan.
According to Schuetz, his ROTC program and Augustana coursework were good preparation for the Air Force.
“The combination of the two taught me how to manage my time more efficiently, and Augie is a challenging school, so hopefully it’ll help me meet the challenges of work in the Air Force,” Schuetz said.
Thomas Ries, felllow ‘12 alum and teammate, recalls when starting quarterback Josh Hanson was injured during their sophomore year and Schuetz led the team.
“Ryan stepped in to engineer a last-second, game-winning drive to keep our undefeated season alive,” Ries said.
Lt. Col. Carleton Hirschel, who commissioned Schuetz last Saturday in the Siverson Lounge, says that Schuetz will continue to lead, but in a different way.
“Ryan was a leader on the football field and in the classroom,” Hirschel said. “Now he’ll be a leader of men.”
Schuetz begins agent training on Feb. 4 in Robbins, G.A. and will work in the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). He hopes to specialize in counterintelligence with the OSI, for whom he will work for the next four years.