FOXBORO, MA — In a stunning decision over the weekend, 1st Lt. Tom Tebow was cut from the Unit Manning Roster of the 109th Air Defense Artillery during pre-deployment exercises. The move came as a surprise, as the Patriot missile battery is led by an aging captain and lacks consistent backup talent.
The older brother of football “star” Tim Tebow, Tom first rose to prominence at the University of Florida as a nationally ranked ROTC cadet. The Reserve Officers Training Corps, a commissioning program for young military officers, showered Tebow with numerous accolades, including Cadet of the Year, Offensive Planner of the Year, and the illustrious Eisenhower Trophy, awarded annually to the top cadet of a Division 1 ROTC program in the country.
Recruiters from every branch were eager to sign the young Tebow to improve their chances for the 2010 fighting season in Afghanistan.
After graduating, Tebow signed with the U.S. Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant, stationed at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California. Unexpectedly, Tebow underperformed in the MC West, showing promise with a mechanized 'rollout' offense, but relatively little tactical experience in the big leagues that hurt his abilities to lead his men to victory over multiple deployments.
One young sergeant in Tebow's former platoon, nicknamed the “Broncos,” explained that “the L.T. [Tebow] wasn't a bad guy, but he couldn't plan or follow a route to save his life.” After only two seasons, Tebow was traded to the U.S. Air Force to train as a fighter pilot.
Tebow discovered a longer offensive range with the jets, but was ultimately unable to take on a leading role within his fighter wing, who regularly flew out of the Wildcat formation. Although he filled in at new and unusual roles as a newly minted First Lieutenant, including Operations Officer with the wing's Special Teams, his time in the jets did little to improve Tebow's numbers over his year-long stint.
A record of his sorties shows that he failed to connect with even 50 percent of his targets from the air. Finally, after an unimpressive showing in the 2012 fighting season, the Air Force released Tebow from his contract, when the 109th Air Defense Artillery snatched up the suddenly free agent.
As the only ADA battalion in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, the 109th assigned Tebow to a Patriot Missile Battery as an Executive Officer, filling in behind the Captain of the Patriots' team, John Grady. Here, Tebow was expected to gain valuable experience as a leader from one of the most reliable performers in the field today. According to the MARNG's General Management Officer, Tebow is just one of a dozen cuts to be made from the Unit Manning Roster before starting their mobilization next month.
Though his immediate plans have taken a serious blow, Tebow appeared unshaken on Twitter today, releasing an innapropriately lengthy statement on the popular short-form social media network, in a play taken directly from the Officer's Safety Brief playbook. In it, Tebow reiterated that he will continue to pursue his “lifelong dream of being a military officer.”
Fortunately for him, the Chaplains Corps has shown interest in his devout personal beliefs, but has expressed uncertainty with Tebow's inability to complete a Hail Mary in front of a crowd. Only time will determine what lies ahead for the struggling lieutenant, but one thing is certain: the Naval Reserve in Jacksonville, Florida could use all the help they can get this year.