ROTC cadets top in nation

Top of their class: Justin T. Howarth and Ebony Starr prepare for training Oct. 26. They are two of six CU seniors ranked in the top 10 percent of ROTC in the U.S.

Kaylee Jones

Staff Writer 

Six senior cadets from Cameron University’s Comanche Battalion were ranked among the top 10 percent of the nation according to the National Order of Merit list.

The list, released annually by the U.S. Army Cadet Command, is comprised of 5,580 prospective cadets across the nation. USACC presides over the Army’s senior ROTC programs at 273 universities, providing over 60 percent of the Army’s new officers each year.

Cameron’s George D. Keathley Department of Military Science is currently ranked as the third best ROTC unit in the nation (of the 273) by the Order of Founders and Patriots Organization.

The six honored with the distinction were: Ariel T. Bergeron, Briar C. Bohach, Patrick T. Hornsby, James T. Howarth, Ebony Q. Starr and Joshua C. Wood.

Lieutenant Colonel David Zaccheus said he was proud of those honored.

“They’ve earned it. It’s hard work. It depends on their GPA, their performance at LDAC (Leadership Development and Assessment Course) and then what they do on campus,” Zaccheus said. “They have worked their tails off to get it. It’s no joke that out of over 5,500 folks, we have six of the top 10 percent.”

The cadets’ standing is determined by their GPA, which accounts for 40 percent and leadership performance, which accounts for 60 percent.

All cadets are required to maintain an overall GPA. of 2.0, along with a 3.0 in military science. In order to achieve a competitive active duty position, they must maintain a 3.2.

At the time of their evaluations, CU’s senior cadets had an average GPA of 3.45.

Ebony Starr, an active duty option cadet at CU with 13 years of military experience, said she was excited to see the results of her hard work.

“I was excited, but I worked hard,” Starr said. “I decided to come to Cameron knowing that they were in the top 3 percent of the nation… I knew they had high standards. Everywhere we go, everyone knows Cameron.”

Upon her graduation, Starr will be promoted to second lieutenant.

Joshua Wood, also an active duty option cadet who had been stationed at Ft. Sill for seven years, said it was a pleasant surprise to be ranked in the top ten percent.

“I was excited. I was shooting for top 20 percent to be honest,” Wood said. “My wife was like, ‘No, you need to shoot higher than that. Shoot for top ten.’”

Ariel Bergeron, a 21-year-old psychology major, was less surprised with her ranking.

“I worked really, really hard. So it was kind of expected,” Bergeron said. “It was still that ‘I want to know, yay’ but I knew.”

Derrick R. Bieller, Christian S. Gordon and Cody M. Jones were also recognized as distinguished military graduates, ranking in the top 25 percent of the nation.

Cameron currently has 21 senior cadets, 17 of which will enter active duty upon graduation. Four more will enter either the Army Reserve or the National Guard.

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