Lt. Colonel Christian Thompson (PMS)
Friends, families, alumni, and cadets, 2019 was a fast and furious year that zipped past us in no time at all. I am really proud of all the work we’ve done and I am especially proud of our cadets’ accomplishment over the past year. There are so many accolades listed below, but I want to start by highlighting a very special accomplishment. Cadet Mark Wallach was named the #8 cadet overall of nearly 6,000 cadets in his class from across the nation. This accomplishment is representative of his high GPA, fitness test scores, summer camp performance, and his overall strong leadership in the program. He also received the George C. Marshall Leadership award and is a rising star who I’m sure we’ll be reading about in the future. We also received some great news from the Michigan Tech front office. President Richard Koubek approved, retroactively to the beginning of the Fall 2019 semester, for any incoming out of state cadet who is awarded a 3-year scholarship to receive in-state tuition rates until their scholarship kicks in. He also approved for any non-scholarship contracted cadet from out of state to receive in-state rates beginning their junior year. One cadet has already benefited, saving him $6,000 in tuition and fees.
The Army ROTC program at Michigan Tech remains strong with 71 cadets enrolled at the end of the Fall 2019 Semester which also includes two cadets from Finlandia University. Since last year’s newsletter, 12 cadets completed summer camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Four cadets participated in CULP (Cultural & Leadership Program) to the following: Cadet Boehm (Guatemala), Cadet Krueger (Latvia), Cadet Miller, S. (Republic of Congo), and Cadet Mitchell (Peru). Cadets Catron, McGrath, and Stelmaszek participated in an internship with ACE (Army Cyber Education) and Cadets McKenzie and Norton completed an internship with USACE (US Army Corps of Engineers). Cadets Alger and Peitz participated in CTLT (Cadet Troop Leadership Training) with active duty units at Ft. Hood, TX and Ft. Irwin, CA respectively. Cadets Maxey and Coenen won Project GO scholarships and studied Arabic at North Carolina State University and Indiana University respectively. Cadets Biland and Blaedow graduated from Airborne School and Cadets Catron and Wallach graduated from Air Assault School. Lastly, for the first time in eight years, Cadet Grulke, L. graduated from the very tough Sapper Leader Course.
We started the Fall 2019 semester with the largest freshmen class (24) we’ve seen in several years due to seven campus walk-ons. We completed our Fall Field Training Exercise at Fort McCoy, WI and sent 17 cadets to compete in the Ranger Challenge competition. We resurrected an age-old tradition of running the game ball from Marquette, MI to Houghton for the MTU-NMU football game. The Northern Michigan ROTC cadets and cadre met us half way. The cadets raised over $10K from our annual fund raiser by hosting an inaugural 5K/10K race up Mont Ripley called the Husky Alpine Mountain Run. I’m also proud to say that we decisively beat the Air Force ROTC program in flag football and hockey.
I would be remised if I didn’t recognize Sergeant First Class Michael Esterline on his recent retirement after 20 years of service to the nation. He served as a Military Science Instructor having taught the freshmen cadets since January 2018 and the Fall 2019 semester was his last semester with MTU. We will hold his retirement ceremony in the Spring, a well-deserved recognition. We welcomed his replacement, Sergeant First Class Jesse Housby. SFC Housby and his wife, Paulina, joined us from Fort Polk, LA and they are a perfect fit to our ROTC cadre team.
Lastly, I want to congratulate our newest Second Lieutenants since our last newsletter. Second Lieutenant Cameron Gregg of Houghton, MI (BS Finance, Cum Laude, Distinguished Military Graduate, Infantry Branch), Second Lieutenant Jacob Hendricks of Clarkston, MI (BS Construction Management, Aviation Branch), Second Lieutenant Justin Pavliscak of Lake Oreeon, MI (BS Civil Engineering, Aviation Branch), Second Lieutenant Anthony Lackey of Marquette, MI (BS Mechanical Engineering, Corps of Engineers Branch), Second Lieutenant Ethan Prehoda of Colchester, VT (BS Mechanical Engineering, Distinguished Military Graduate, Field Artillery Branch), Second Lieutenant Amber Strutz of Columbia, MD (BS Environmental Engineering, Chemical Branch), Second Lieutenant David Eychaner of Esmond, IL (BS Mechanical Engineering, Cum Laude, Distinguished Military Graduate, Corps of Engineers Branch), Second Lieutenant Lucas Grulke of Grafton, WI (BS Engineer Management, Magna Cum Laude, Distinguished Military Graduate and Top 10%, Infantry Branch), Second Lieutenant Ethan Knake of Coleman, MI (BS Civil Engineering, Field Artillery Branch), Second Lieutenant Natalie McGrath of Ham Lake, MN (BS Computer Engineering, Cum Laude, Chemical Branch), Second Lieutenant John Stough of South Africa (BS Mechanical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude, Military Intelligence Branch), and Second Lieutenant Sean Wentworth of Roseville, MN (BS Mechanical Engineering, Cum Laude, Field Artillery Branch).
Many thanks to you all for your support of our great program and our cadets. Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for current updates and events.