Owatonna native, long-time musician becomes U.S. Army paratrooper - Owatonna MN: Owatonna Peoples Press

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Owatonna native, long-time musician becomes U.S. Army paratrooper

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Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2013 6:00 pm | Updated: 1:23 pm, Fri Mar 1, 2013.

OWATONNA — Owatonna native Ean Ulrich has been playing the violin since he was 4 years old.

But while obtaining his bachelor’s degree in music performance at St. Olaf College in Northfield, a U.S. Army recruiter visiting campus sparked an interest in Ulrich to serve in the military.

Last summer, he decided to enlist.

“Other soldiers don’t understand how I could turn down $60,000 or more and all that training to be a grunt,” Ulrich said.

And while his mother, Rachel, was surprised by his decision, she supports him.

“I thought he was going to get his master’s degree in music, but I am still proud of him,” Rachel said. “He’s had a yearning to be in the Army. He’s very patriotic. It is something he was called to do, and I know if he didn’t do it, then he’d always wish he had.”

Ulrich said he decided to join the Army to help people.

“I feel like this is where the Lord wants me, and I feel like I’m making a difference,” he said.

Ulrich, who is a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, was inspired to pursue a career in music after a teacher in middle school rekindled his love for music.

Rachel said her son taught violin lessons for eight years, even while he was in college. He also plays in a quartet that has performed in numerous venues, including more than 90 weddings.

And after about a month at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Ulrich played the violin at a ball for his new unit, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

He also volunteers his time playing violin with a community band near Fort Bragg.

Ulrich said his fellow platoon members give him a hard time about his violin because he is the only one in the platoon with a degree.

“They think I should be oh so smart, but there’s a lot to learn in the Army,” he said. “I am realizing that, and I have a long way to go.”

Ulrich hopes to attend Ranger School and Officer Candidate School. The application process has already begun for both, he said.

Rachel said Ulrich has been parachute jumping the last couple weeks for training.

Rachel said she wasn’t sure when she’d see him next with his other schooling.

Reach reporter Ashley Stewart at 444-2378 or follow her on Twitter.com @OPPashley

© 2015 Southernminn.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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1 comment:

  • zippo posted at 9:35 am on Fri, Mar 1, 2013.

    zippo Posts: 20

    Specialist Ulrich,
    I'm so proud of you. I took my basic training at Ft. Bragg in 1969. When my drill sergeant found out that I was going to 3rd Army Band from there he said," My brother was in the Army Band, and he never amounted to anything." Don't let them tease you about playing the violin. I will pray for you, and I know God will look after you.

     

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