Nick Westendorf (men’s soccer, ’11) and Sean Milde (men’s lacrosse, ’11) grew close during their time at The University of Scranton. As fellow athletes and Army ROTC members, their bond grew during their four years to the point that they roomed together during their senior year.
But Westendorf and Milde hadn’t seen each other since they graduated a little more than two years ago. That is, until they bumped into each other recently while serving in Afghanistan in separate companies.
“Nick and I have been friends since freshman year from ROTC and had a lot in common because we were both athletes and enrolled in the ROTC program,” Milde said via e-mail recently. “We ended up rooming together senior year and haven't seen each other since then until we ran into each other here in Afghanistan.”
Westendorf, a native of Colts Neck, N.J., is a platoon leader with the rank of first lieutenant in the 87th Sapper Company based out of Fort Hood, Texas.
“We deployed to Afghanistan in May of 2013 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom,” Westendorf said recently, also via e-mail. “We are a Route Clearance Patrol and our mission is to ensure main supply routes are clear of obstructions such as IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in our area of operations.”
Milde, a native of Succasunna, N.J., is also a first lieutenant and is a cavalry platoon leader in the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, N.Y.
“Our mission is to advise the Afghan Security Forces and help them as they rebuild their Nation in preparation for our withdrawal from their country,” Milde said.
During their four years at Scranton, both Westendorf and Milde were key contributors to their teams. Westendorf was a four-year letterman who started 45 of the 55 matches he played in for the men’s soccer team. Playing mainly on defense, he finished with one career assist as the Royals posted 37 wins in his four seasons.
Milde was a four-year letter-winner in the midfield for the men’s lacrosse team who played in 56 games, including seven starts. He finished his career with seven goals and seven assists, and was an important part of the Royals’ Landmark Conference championship squad during his senior year.