NSU ROTC honors outstanding cadets during spring awards program

Northwestern State University’s Department of Military Science hosted an awards program for the 71st Demon Battalion April 29. The program recognized ROTC cadet achievements, including the introduction of graduating seniors who will commission into the U.S. Army as second lieutenants.

Commissionees and their branch assignments are as follows.

Cadet Bruna Galarza will graduate with a Master of science in Homeland Security. She has branched Adjutant General’s Corps and will serve in the US Army Reserve.

Cadet Neil Ahldwin Garcia will graduate with a Bachelor of General Studies and minor in Social Science. He has been selected for active duty in the Adjutant General’s Corps.

Cadet Ethan Lewis will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a minor in Military Leadership. He has branched Infantry and will serve in the Texas National Guard.

Cadet Meya Morse, will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems with a concentration in web development and a minor in military leadership. She has branched Armor and will serve on active duty.

Cadet Gennyfer Pena and will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in biomedical and minor in military leadership. She has been selected for active duty in the Adjutant General’s Corps.

Cadet Adrian Vandiver will graduate from Louisiana State University Shreveport with a Bachelor of Finance, concentration in financial analysis, and minor in military leadership.

He has branched Armor and will serve in the Louisiana Army National Guard.

Cadets listed on the President’s List who earned a 4.0 GPA were Cadets Bruna Galarza, Anthony Cantrell, Kayla Graham, Colby Hennigan, Manuel Vingua, Arianna Astorga and Jamie Dodds. Dean’s List students who earned a 3.50-3.99 GPA were Cadets Neil Garcia, Caleb Krikorian, Gennyfer Pena, Adrian Vandiver, Tyler Iverson, Seth Ozsoy, Taylor Dixon and Loren Higginbotham. Cadet Jamie Dodds was named recipient of the Academic Award.

MS IV cadets are seniors under the instruction of Lt. Col. Wendell Bender. Their awards are as follows.

Cadet Bruna Galarza received the PMS Recruiting Award and the American Legion Scholastic Excellence Award, which recognizes a cadet who ranks in the top 10 percent of the class in academic subjects and the top 25 percent of ROTC classes with demonstrated qualities of leadership.

Cadet Neil Garcia, Battalion S2, Intelligence office, received the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, presented to a cadet who has shown a high degree of patriotism to the nation and has demonstrated a high degree of academic performance and leadership.

Cadet Ethan Lewis, Battalion Commance Sergeant Major, received the AUSA ROTC Medal, which recognizes a Cadet working to improve the Military Science Department.

Cadet Meya Morse received the Intramural Sports Recognition and the Veterans of Foreign Wars award presented to a student who has demonstrated achievement and concentrated effort in the ROTC program.

Cadet Gennyfer Pena received the Cadet Recruiting Ribbon and the award of the National Society of Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America, which recognizes an outstanding student who has demonstrated the qualities of leadership and high scholastic average and is highly active in student affairs.

Cadet Adrian Vandiver, Demon Battalion Commander, received the Lions Club Award, presented annually to a cadet who has shown excellence in leadership. The selected cadet must have excelled over the course of the year in all facets of military science, upholding the highest ideals of patriotism and fidelity.

MS IIIs are junior level students instructed by MSG Michael Blakely.

Cadet Kevin Branch received the AMVETS medal and certificate. AMVETS, or American Veterans, was established by Veterans of World War II, and their award is presented annually to an outstanding cadet for diligence in the discharge of duties and the willingness to serve both God and Country for the mutual benefit of all.

Cadet Anthony Cantrell, Battalion Executive Officer, was selected to command the Battalion next semester. He received the PMS Recruiting Award and the Intramural Sports Award.

Cadet Kayla Graham, Company First Sergeant, received the Cadet Recruiting Ribbon and the PMS Diligence Award. She also received the AUSA History Award, which recognizes an outstanding junior cadet who ranks in the top 10 percent in ROTC and top 25 percent in other subjects and does most toward improving the military science department.

Cadet Colby Hennigan, Battalion S-3, Operations Officer, was selected to serve as

the Battalion Executive Officer next semester. He received the American Legion Military Excellence Award. In addition to academic ranking, the award recognizes outstanding qualities in military leadership, discipline, character and citizenship. He also received the Reserve Officers’ Association award, which recognizes contributions in advancing the objectives of the ROTC program, which include outstanding dedication to citizenship, knowledge of civic responsibility, military orientation, self-discipline and a sound work ethic.

Cadet Tyler Iverson, Battalion S1, Personnel Officer, received the Daughters of the American Revolution award, presented to a cadet who shows outstanding ability and achievement and has demonstrated dependability and good character, leadership and patriotic understanding of the importance of ROTC training. Iverson also received the award of the Military Officers Association of America, which recognizes a cadet in good academic standing with high moral character and who demonstrates exceptional potential for military leadership and presents a high order of loyalty to the Battalion, university and nation.

Cadet Alex Wade, Battalion S4, Logistics Officer, received the Knights of Columbus 4th Degree Patriotic Award. The recipient of this award must be a junior who has been selected for patriotic standards above and beyond all others.

Cadet Kenta Williams attends Louisiana State University Alexandria in partnership with NSU. He leads ROTC recruiting efforts there and received the PMS Recruiting Award.

MS IIs are sophomores instructed by JaJuan Broussard.

Cadet Taylor Dixon will be Company Commander next semester. She received the Cadet Recruiting Ribbon and the award for the Society of the War of 1812, presented to an outstanding sophomore cadet of high moral character and good academic standing. Dixon also received the National Sojourner’s Award, presented in recognition of the highest attributes of Americanism and support of the United States as a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, proudly serving the cause of patriotism.

Cadet Khadijah Evans has been selected to serve as the S4, Logistics Officer, next semester. She received the Cadet Recruiting Ribbon and the award of the Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America, which recognizes a sophomore who has accomplished, by diligence or endeavor, a high degree of excellence in military history, demonstrated potential for good leadership and reflected the ideals of patriotism.

Cadet Michael Shamblin is the S6, Communications Officer. He received the Cadet Recruiting Ribbon and Intramural Sports Recognition.

MS Is are first year cadets instructed by Capt. Jeffrey Christensen.

Cadet Arianna Astorga received the Cadet Recruiting Ribbon and the award of the

Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United States, presented for exceptional leadership potential.

Cadet Peyton Bordelon received the Cadet Recruiting Award.

Cadet Loren Higginbotham received the Cadet Recruiting Award and the USAA Spirit Award, which recognizes the cadet who best displays the traits and characteristics which embody the spirit of service to others.

Cadet Andrew Wesley received the award of the Sons of the American Revolution, which recognizes a freshman who exhibits a high degree of merit with respect to leadership qualities, soldierly bearing and excellence in ROTC studies and activities.

Recipients of the Military Order of World Wars recognizes cadets who excel in all military and scholastic aspects of ROTC. Recipients were Cadets Seth Ozsoy, Cadet Davis and Aspen Oliver. The citation reads, “The Lieutenant General Troy H. Middleton Chapter is proud to recognize your demonstrated excellence in academic and military studies, application of leadership principles and your desire to serve the country. Your exhibited qualities of dependability, good character and adherence to military discipline bring great credit upon you,

the Demon Battalion and Northwestern State University.”

Cadets who participate in Color Guard play a pivotal role in honoring tradition and paying respect to those serving, present and past, in the Armed Forces. Cadets recognized for volunteering to serve on the Demon Battalion Color Guard were Color Sergeant Cadet Dylan Trueblood and Cadets Cade Davis, Taylor Dixon, Khadijah Evans, Michael Shamblin, Peyton Brodelon, Jamie Dodds and Andrew Wesley.

The Outstanding Service Award recognizes cadets who have contributed additional time and energy to social projects for the university and Demon Battalion. Recognized were Cadet Kayla Graham for service as the president of the Black Knights, ROTC’s recognized student organization; Cadet Khadijah Evans, for service as secretary of the Black Knights; Cadet Michael Shamblin, for service as vice president of the Black Knights; Cadet Peyton Bordelon for serving as treasurer of the Black Knights and Cadet Loren Higginbotham for service to the university through student involvement in many organizations on campus. He also received the Outstanding Service Award.

The U.S. Army ROTC Sergeant York Award is presented to a cadet who excels in the program and devotes additional and effort to maintaining and expanding it. This year’s recipient was Cadet Michael Shamblin.

Military leadership is defined as the process of influencing others to accomplish the mission by providing purpose, direction and motivation. The Leadership Excellence Award recognizes those cadets who demonstrate leadership ability in the program, across campus

and in civic activities. For her work in many organizations across campus, including that as Miss Black & Gold 2021, the first recipient of the Leadership Excellence Award was presented to Cadet Gennyfer Pena.

Cadet Adrian Vandiver was awarded the Leadership Award for his service to the LSUS Detachment and to the Demon Battalion as commander.

Cadets who received the Cadet Commendation Medal for contributing extraordinary efforts to the program were Cadets Colby Hennigan for work as Battalion Communications Officer, and Andrew Wesley for work with the Color Guard.

Top cadets are recognized for academic and military leadership and demonstrating strong officer potential. These cadets volunteer, speak up and encourage others to improve, rising above their peers to build the NSU ROTC program. This year’s top cadets were Top MS I Cadet Peyton Bordelon, Top MS II Cadet Taylor Dixon, Top MS III Cadet Anthony Cantrell and Top MS IV Cadet Bruna Galarza.

Thanks to the generosity of NSU ROTC alumni and friends of the Battalion, NSU’s Department of Military Science awarded $3,000 in scholarships to six deserving cadets.

Cadet Alex Wade was recipient of the Harris Family Scholarship established by Brett Harris, son of LTC Walter B. Harris, Jr., NSU PMS 1977-1982. The recipient must be an MS III or IV who demonstrates Army Values and Core Leader Competencies.

Cadet Taylor Dixon was recipient of the Jeanice Leadership and Excellence Scholarship, created by Capt. Brittany Jeanice for a cadet who is active in ROTC and at least two other NSU activities, maintains a high grade point average and has noted leadership potential. Jeanice credits involvement in activities across campus for her success in ROTC and on active duty.

Cadet Kayla Graham received the James A. Noe Memorial Scholarship awarded to a cadet who displays a high degree of leadership potential, high standard of moral conduct and works to support the program.

Cadet Tyler Iverson received the Malcolm Daisy Scholarship. Capt. Kristen Daisy established the scholarship in her father’s name because it is given as a reward for perseverance against adversity and drive to serve one’s country as an Army officer. It is awarded to a hardworking, loyal, and dedicated Cadet who exhibits all Army Values and volunteers on a regular basis.

With requirements of a high GPA, PT score, Army values and core leader competencies, the Andrea Rene Cespedes “Above the Best” Scholarship is a tough one to achieve. This year’s winner was Cadet Neil Garcia.

Cadet Bruna Galarza is the 2021 recipient of the Maj. Gen. Erbon W. Wise Touchstone Award.

The Maj. Gen. Erbon W. Wise Touchstone Award was established in honor of Wise, his service to the nation and contributions to Northwestern State and the ROTC program. The term “Touchstone” is from the Cadet Creed and used to mark the character of the recipient. The award reads “Touchstone: the standard against all others are measured.” This annual award is presented to an ROTC Cadet who is the model of good citizenship. He or she not only embodies the Army values and warrior ethos but is recognized for contributing beyond the expected and encourages others to do the same.

General Wise donated funds to purchase each recipient’s commissioning uniform for 10 years. The uniforms cost well over $500 each, and the NSU ROTC program is grateful for his generous support. General Wise passed away in August 2020, but his memory will be honored for years to come.


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