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Campus ROTC Wins Award

Cal State Fullerton’s ROTC unit recently took top honors in the Brigade Commander’s Challenge, which rates western regional battalions by grade point average, physical fitness, leadership and other skills.  Pictured with the Golden Bear Battalion trophy — a 4-foot-tall wooden bear — are, from left, standing, Capt. Mario Iglesias, Capt. Eric Sharyer, Capt. Jocelyn Simmons, Roy Garcia, Lt. Col. Billy Howard, Jacqueline Pierce, Sgt. Daniel Sturgell and Maj. Robert Medina. Front row, center: Capt. Michael White, left, and Barbara Hollandsworth. Photo by Mimi Ko Cruz

Campus ROTC Wins Award

Battalion Garners Top Honors in Challenge for Second Year in a Row

November 19, 2007

By Mimi Ko Cruz

For the second consecutive year, Cal State Fullerton’s Army Reserve Officers Training Corp. has won the Brigade Commander’s Challenge.

Winning the challenge means the cadets get to retain the perpetual trophy, a heavy 4-foot-tall bear (the brigade’s mascot) for another year.

“To win two years running is an accomplishment of great merit,” said Col. Michael Johnson, brigade commander overseeing western regional battalions, including Cal State Fullerton’s. “The competition challenges members of the ROTC battalion to their fullest. From grade point average, which is 34 percent of the competition, to physical fitness, tactical skills and water survival techniques to conquering fear of heights and darkness, and leadership skill development.”

Fullerton’s battalion competed against such institutions as University of Utah, University of Arizona, Cal Poly San Louis Obispo, UC Berkeley, Santa Clara University, UCLA, USC, UC Santa Barbara and University of San Francisco, Johnson said.

“Not only did Fullerton ROTC cadets win but, they beat the closest competitor by no less than 144 points out of a possible 1,300,” Johnson said. “I am very proud of each and every member of the Fullerton ROTC battalion. There is no doubt that they will make our nation proud as officers in the United States Army.”

Lt. Col. Billy Howard, Fullerton’s battalion commander and professor of military science, agreed. “The cadets worked very hard this year and the award signifies their progress.”

Howard said the average grade point average is 3.2 for the campus battalion, which is made up of 104 cadets — the largest battalion in the campus ROTC program's 24-year history.

The program’s overall goal is to “commission high-quality, motivated and committed young scholars, athletes and leaders and turn them into competent, confident and agile officers who exemplify Warrior Ethos,” Howard said. Warrior Ethos is the soldier's creed: always placing the mission first, never accepting defeat, never quitting and never leaving a fallen comrade.

Most ROTC students who receive scholarships agree to complete four years of full-time service with the Army. Some cadets choose to serve part-time in the U.S. Army Reserve or Army National Guard while pursuing a civilian career.

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