Photo: Studio portrait of Charles Grunert in NU Corps uniform

The cybersecurity major and jazz trumpeter shares the backstory on his U.S. Army braid and regimental band lyre.

Norwich University Office of Communications

February 19, 2018

So what uniform are you wearing?
This is the Norwich University Corps of Cadets Summer Class B uniform.

What does the black and gold braid on your shoulder signal?
I just got my U.S. Army ROTC scholarship activated. That was from swearing in. I did that at the quarry on Payne Mountain while repelling with Capt. Jones, my professor in military science. We repelled a cliff face 40-50 feet and went down it halfway. Hand raised. It was awesome. It was the first time anyone's ever done that.

How about the blue braid?
The blue braid is the infantry cord. That's what I got from enlisting the prior summer and going through infantry school. It was 13 weeks total. I joined the Vermont National Guard, and I just went through the whole process (before) I knew I was going to get contracted (as an officer) the next year.

Can you talk a little bit about Mountain Cold Weather Company?
Definitely one of my favorite things about this school. It's a unique (student) club and a unique experience. We base all of what we learn and teach off the actual (U.S. Army) Mountain Warfare School. We're self-regulated. We have to enforce our own professionalism, which is why it's so amazing. I'm a training sergeant (helping teach first year members how to ski, ice climb, etc.) I feel really blessed to train and get that leadership experience as a sophomore.

You have a pin that looks like an instrument. What's that?
The band lyre. That's something that you earn in the (Norwich University Corps of Cadets Regimental) Band. You go through your own hardships, training, and special events. If you can't meet certain requirements, you're kicked out. Honestly, it's worth it in the end, because you get a whole new set of friends and you're like family.

What instrument do you play?
The trumpet. I've been playing since third grade. I was really turned off by jazz (initially), but now I love going to see live jazz. In fact, in the future, apart from being an officer, I really just want to play jazz at night bars. So that's like a long-term goal of mine. It's kind of on the side. Like a secret hobby.

Any parting thoughts?
I wish I saw how I looked. I would have tucked my shirt a little tighter.

Interview condensed and edited for length and clarity.

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