Alex Cornell du Houx '06 will have something more pressing than finals to worry about come December.


Cornell du Houx is scheduled to leave for active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps at the end of the year. He will spend three months training in the United States, and then he will be deployed to Iraq. Cornell du Houx, who withdrew from a Brunswick Town Council race because of the order, currently estimates that his service there will last seven months.

"I am not nervous whatsoever," Cornell du Houx said in an interview late Thursday. "We are always ready to mobilize and we are trained to do this as a job."

While in Iraq, Cornell du Houx will participate in combat. He will launch rockets and use demolitions equipment. Conditions on the ground will vary?one night, he may sleep in a field and the next night he may sleep in barracks.

Cornell du Houx is currently president of the Maine College Democrats and director of development for the College Democrats of America. He was quoted in a September 2004 issue of the Orient as stating at a PBS "MaineWatch" debate that President George W. Bush "misled the country" by taking action in Iraq.

However, Cornell du Houx sees no disconnect between his service and his political beliefs.

"There is no conflict with being a liberal and a Marine," Cornell du Houx said when asked about his political activism. "Regardless of my personal beliefs, it is my duty as a Marine to serve."

Cornell du Houx, who has been in the Marine Forces Reserves since he came to Bowdoin, said he always had an interest in the Marines before joining. He said the Marines offer opportunities to meet people and gain perspective.

The fact that the military is controlled by a Republican administration was not a factor when he made the decision to join.

"It didn't even come into consideration," he said.

Cornell du Houx was originally on the ballot for a Brunswick Town Council position representing District 7. Coles Tower, Chamberlain Hall, and a number of college houses are in that district. After receiving news of the activation, he withdrew from that race. Besides being unable to serve, he said he removed his name from the ballot so that he would not adversely affect the candidacies of his opponents.

In addition, Cornell du Houx said he will take incompletes in his fall semester courses. He points to some academic work at Bowdoin that will be useful for his service?including the course Middle East Politics and what he describes as a "crash course" in Arabic.

"All of the professors have been extremely helpful and understanding," he said.

Cornell du Houx is not sure whether his service will lead him into politics, a position as a commissioned officer, or some other field after college.

"We'll see what the future holds. At this point, anything could happen," he said.

Cornell du Houx is part of Alpha Company 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment. He trains regularly at a Marine annex at the Brunswick Naval Air Station. His regiment includes Marines from throughout Maine and parts of New England.

Dean of Student Affairs Craig Bradley was out of town and could not be reached for comment on Cornell du Houx's deployment.

According to the Office of Institutional Research, 11 alumni who graduated in the 1990s?and reported their occupations to the College in 2004?are identified as members of the military.

Some Bowdoin students currently serve in a reserve capacity.

Dave Donahue '07 is training to be a member of the Marine Corps through the Officer Training School or Platoon Leaders Course. He trains during the summer in Quantico, Virginia.

Donahoe said there is "no chance" that he'll be deployed to Iraq before graduating from Bowdoin. He will go back to Quantico this summer for six more weeks of training, and then will need six months of additional training.

While he is not obligated to become an officer, Donahoe said, "It is something I really want to do with my life."

As for Cornell du Houx, some members of the community expressed worry after they learned of his deployment.

"People are concerned," Cornell du Houx said, "but understand it is my duty."