From Army to Ames: Nick Grossman

CPT Nick Grossman during his time in the United States Army.

Courtesy of Nick Grossman

CPT Nick Grossman during his time in the United States Army.

Emily Schroer

Sept. 11, 2001 – Four airliners are hijacked as part of a coordinated act of terror. 

Two are flown into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. The third plane hits the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashes in a field in Pennsylvania. 

The day will forever live in infamy in world history. For Nick Grossman, multicultural liaison officer for the ISU Police Department, it was an event that inspired him to enter the armed forces.

“That [9/11] was my personal spring board event,” Grossman said.

Grossman grew up in a small town in western Iowa. He attended Iowa State for his undergraduate degree, receiving a bachelor’s in design. 

Grossman became interested in becoming a security guard part time while attending Iowa State. After graduating in 2001, he realized that he enjoyed working security and decided to apply for a police officer position. He applied to many places, ultimately deciding to return to the Cyclone community, this time as a member of ISU Police. 

After a few months on the job, tragedy struck. Four planes were hijacked as part of a coordinated attack on 9/11. Grossman felt a pull from his country, saying it was his time to serve.

In 2004, Grossman enlisted in the U.S. National Guard. Grossman said there was a high possibility that if 9/11 never happened, he probably would have never joined the Army.

While enlisted, Grossman made his way through officer candidate school and became a second lieutenant as an intelligence officer, eventually ending his nine-year career ranked as a captain.

Grossman described the job of an intelligence officer as very demanding and analytical. He learned that a “gut check” was needed in order to do a job like that.

“I think I learned to question things more than I already did,” Grossman said. “When you are actually in other countries and seeing other cultures, you can’t just assume people are going to think the same as you.”

Grossman was deployed to Iraq from December 2008 to January 2010 for force protection. He spent a lot of his time working with the base intelligence team to help in a counterintelligence format.

Carrie Jacobs, deputy chief of Iowa State Police, said Grossman had become a good friend over the years.

“He’s funny, he’s reliable and he’s direct,” Jacobs said. “If I ask him, ‘Hey, Nick, what do you think about this, he isn’t going to tell me what I want to hear. He is actually going to tell me what he thinks,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs also said having military experience in the department helps create an educational resource. Grossman is also a great resource to her personally. When Jacobs’ family suffered the loss of a family member who was killed in Afghanistan a few years ago, Grossman became a person she turned to for all of her questions.

“It was really helpful to have Nick because he explained to me the process and why that mission failed or why they did things the way they did,” Jacobs said.

Grossman has also worked closely with the ISU Veterans Center as a liaison. Both offices stay in contact with each other and create resources for both communities.

“The veterans community is a tight-knit community,” Jathan Chicoine, veteran services coordinator, said. “[Grossman’s] background as a veteran was something very meaningful to us.”