ROTC cadets move up ranks, receive Army assignments
After years of training and education, ROTC cadets on Thursday graced the Student Center South Theater to commemorate their achievements and promotion in the armed forces.
Eight cadets graduated from University of Houston-Main Campus and four from University of Houston-Downtown and University of St. Thomas. The cadets received commissions by completing the ROTC program and attaining bachelor’s degrees.
“(The ROTC program) emphasizes leadership development for the cadets and encourages each one to overcome obstacles and achieve their life goals,” said Jocelyn Salvador, the officer in charge. “It also provides them with a set of morals and ethical values that allow the cadet to be a distinguished individual even outside of ROTC.”
Salvador said commissions are granted by the president and approved by Congress. Graduating cadets receive the rank of second lieutenant and become officers in their respective components of the Army.
The cadets took their oaths as second lieutenants before going on stage to perform their first salute to a non-commissioned officer and proceeding to the pinning ceremony.
Noah Young, a political science senior who transferred from Texas A&M to UH after his freshman year, was active in the ROTC program during his UH career.
“I decided Texas A&M wasn’t the place I wanted to be, so I transferred into the Honors College at UH,” Young said. “In my senior year at UH it wasn’t uncommon that I’d spend eight or more hours a day at battalion working.”
Young said he fell out of helicopters at air assault school, participated in a national security internship in California and led a cadet battalion of over 100 students on the road to receiving his commission.
“The outstanding instructors who work at the ROTC program and the program itself have been the driving force behind my growth and development over the last 3 years,” Young said. “They have constantly pushed me as a student, a leader and apprentice soldier.”
Young will return to California to work with the Center for Global Security Research at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and visit Arizona to complete his four-month military intelligence officer basic course. Afterward, Young and his fiance, who will marry at the end of May, will move to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.
Anthropology major Ashley Sanchez, who came to UH in fall 2013 after serving in the Army’s transportation branch since 2011, also received her commission.
“Even though I was enlisted prior I still had a lot of work to do, especially when it came to physical fitness and tactical skills,” Sanchez said. “I worked hard my first semester, and by my second semester I earned an ROTC contract … I was excited because during my time as an enlisted soldier many people encouraged me to become an officer.”
During her time at UH, Sanchez continued to serve in the Army Reserve. She plans to keep contributing as a military intelligence officer while pursuing a master of arts in anthropology. During the summer, Sanchez will also be working at the Holocaust Museum.
“It is a dream of mine to eventually bring knowledge about human rights from the civilian world and integrate it with the military side,” Sanchez said. “To help advance their understanding of issues around the world.”