This story first appeared in The East Texan, the student newspaper at Texas A&M University-Commerce. It is being reprinted with permission.
Texas A&M University-Commerce student Matthew Pinaud graduated not only once this past weekend, but twice, as the senior walked the stage on Saturday at the Field House, and on Sunday at Dallas Love Field to be commissioned from Officer Candidate School (OCS) to solidify himself as an officer in the United States Marine Corps.
Pinaud, a 2015 graduate of Timber Creek High School in Keller, received his degree in mathematics from A&M-Commerce, and will be following in his father’s footsteps to become a pilot in the Marine Corps.
On Sunday at Dallas Love Field’s Frontiers of Flight Museum, friends and family joined to watch Pinaud be sworn in as a 2nd Lieutenant by his father, Maj. Paul Pinaud USMC (Ret.). The ceremony was conducted by Pinaud’s OSO (Officer Selection Officer) Capt. Matthew Welsh. Pinaud also gave his first salute to his grandfather, retired US Navy corpsman HM3 (Hospitalman 3rd Class) Ernest Pinaud.
Throughout the four years he spent at A&M-Commerce, Pinaud would spend many hours studying for school and training for the Marines. Since officers have to be graduates of college, Pinaud kept his training and school at the same pace. Every Thursday morning Pinaud would drive to Dallas to train with Capt. Welsh.
“I’d leave Commerce at 4:00 a.m. for a 60-mile one way trip to the workouts. It was really tough to get to bed at a reasonable hour, especially when all of your friends are still up doing things,” said Pinaud following the commissioning. “The workouts were designed to push you past your perceived physical capabilities in order to strengthen your body physically and mentally.”
When asked about his time at A&M-Commerce, Pinaud noted “my favorite part about attending A&M-Commerce is the lifelong friends and relationships that I have acquired over my four years there. My friend group was relatively small, but was a tight group nonetheless. The friends I made there gave me nothing but support and motivation to reach, and surpass my goals.”
During the summers when Pinaud would get a break from school, the training never did. In the summer of 2017 Pinaud finished the six-week first leg of OCS in Quantico, VA. In the summer of 2018 Pinaud finished round two with another six weeks. Depending on the course, Officer Candidates either attend a 10-week, or two 6-week courses over separate summers, designed to scout and evaluate candidates’ fitness to lead Marines by putting them in leadership positions in tough environments.
“The path to becoming a United States Marine officer is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. It is very taxing mentally and physically, as well as puts a strain on your relationships. It is by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but there is no better sense of accomplishment when you get handed that eagle globe and anchor,” said 2nd Lt. Pinaud.
Pinaud will next attend The Basic School (TBS) in September at Quantico for six months of further training with other newly commissioned Marine officers from other programs. At TBS they will receive skills and knowledge on how to lead Marines in combat. Upon finishing TBS, Pinaud will attend flight school for two years in Pensacola, FL.