All posts by hrdunne

ROTC Commanders Complete Their Time at Tech

image109785-persThis spring, the commanders of both the Army and Air Force ROTC detachments will complete their tours of duty on the Michigan Tech campus.

Lieutenant Colonel Adam Melnitsky arrived in 2013 to direct the Army training program, while Major Jason Engler took over the Air Force detachment a year later. It is unusual for both commanders to depart at the same time, although regular rotations are part of the plan for all military officers.

It is a bit more out of the ordinary that both will retire from their services after twenty years on active duty. The College of Sciences and Arts is marking their retirement from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday (April 24) in the conference room in the ROTC Building.

Melnitsky entered the Army after completing the ROTC program at Norwich University in New York in 1997, and served in a number of positions with the First Cavalry Division, before serving in a recruiting position in Salt Lake City and in the Boston Military Entrance Processing Station. Subsequently he deployed to Iraq in 2008 and again in 2011 — the latter with one of the last units in Iraq.

Engler joined the Air Force through ROTC at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Phoenix, with a degree in space studies. He began his career as a “missileer” at Vandenberg and later served as a missile officer at an ICBM base in Montana.

Among his later appointments was time at NORAD headquarters in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. The connection to space remained a part of Engler’s efforts in various Air Force staff assignments before coming to Tech.

Bruce Seely, dean of the College of Sciences and Arts said, “Adam and Jason have been marvelous leaders of the ROTC units under their command, which at times can be a difficult task of serving the Army, Air Force and the University — they have done so with distinction. Both have academic appointments to match their military rank — Adam as Professor of Military Science and Jason as Professor of Aerospace Studies. The length of their appointments was longer than the normal two-year tour, which was a good thing for Tech and for the cadets, as we gained additional stability from the continuity of their leadership. We will miss their steady hands and commitment to training the next generation of military officers.”

Melnitsky and his wife Teresa intend to move to Salt Lake City, while Engler and his spouse Leah (who works as a grants analyst in the Sponsored Programs Office) are heading to Arizona to launch a brew pub.

Both couples say they’re excited at the prospect of having their own homes.

We extend best wishes from everyone at Michigan Tech to them and their families in their future endeavors, as they transition from military to civilian life.


Army/Air Force ROTC Cross Country Ski Race Saturday

ROTC_Ski20150327_0022On Saturday (March 18) the two great ROTC programs here at Michigan Tech will compete head-to-head at the Tech Trails to prove which group of cadets has the most stamina and, dare I say it — tenacity — to survive winter and come out on top.

Blair Orr of the Nordic Ski Club has enthusiastically offered to host a cross-country ski race, a 2.2K paired sprint, classic style, beginning at 12:15 p.m. The Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC programs are both very successful, dedicated and proud, as well as intense friendly rivals. The mood promises to be exciting as the cadets give their best effort to prove their mettle in the (hopefully) waning days of winter.

The public is welcome to attend and cheer for their favorite service.


Tech Honored with Military Friendly Schools Silver Award

Michigan Tech has received a Silver Award from Military Friendly Schools. The award recognizes Tech for being a small public school with outstanding programs and support for military personnel, veterans and their families.

The awards are new this year and are meant to highlight schools that go beyond federal requirements to offer exceptional programs for military personnel, veterans and their families.

Of the 1,160 universities recognized as Military Friendly, 541 won special awards for excellence.

Last month, Michigan Tech was named a Military Friendly School for the third time. Read more here.


Michigan Tech Named a Military Friendly School

image152256-fshorizwMichigan Tech has been named a Military Friendly school by Victory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs, STEM Jobs and Military Spouse. Michigan Tech is one of 1,160 schools to receive the Military Friendly designation.

First published in 2009, Military Friendly Schools is a resource for veterans and their families, helping them select the best college, university or trade school to receive the education and training needed to pursue a civilian career. Institutions earning the Military Friendly school designation were evaluated using public data sources and responses from a survey. More than 1,600 schools participated in the 2017 survey.

This is the third time Michigan Tech has been named a Military Friendly school.

“Once again we are honored to be recognized for our ongoing efforts to provide useful educational opportunities and needed support services for our veterans and their families,” said President Glenn Mroz.

Read the full story.


Michigan Tech Veteran Returns to Help Struggling Vets

1478803878In July, Michelle Kovachich began her duties as a readjustment counselor with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Her new job brought the Calumet native, a Michigan Tech alumna and US Army veteran, home after more than a decade that took her from Alaska to the Middle East and back again.

Kovachich says she loves to travel and when she graduated from high school she entertained opportunities to pursue her education far away from home. She chose Michigan Tech not necessarily because it was close to home, but because it had exactly what she wanted: a military education.

“I wanted a school with a strong ROTC program and a good relationship with the military. That’s exactly what Tech had and why I chose to go there.”

Her choice turned out to be a good one. Following graduation in 2005 with a degree in social sciences and completion of the ROTC program, Kovachich was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army.

She credits Tech’s ROTC program for preparing her for life in the service. “It wasn’t a surprise,” she says of her transition from college student in Houghton to the 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division of the 725th Support Battalion at Fort Richardson, Alaska, near Anchorage.

“Tech’s ROTC program provided the best training and structure. When I went into the military I had an idea of what to expect because of Tech’s ROTC. It wasn’t a surprise because they fed you the information you needed.”

During her five-year service, she experienced the Artic cold of Alaska and war in the Middle East. In 2006 she was deployed to Iraq for 15 months as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2009 she served 13 months as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Read the full story.