Bearkat Battalion Commissions 19 In Spring Ceremony

By: SHSU
By: SHSU

Nineteen Sam Houston State University seniors joined the ranks of the U.S. Army on May 10, graduating from cadets to second lieutenants during the Bearkat Battalion Spring Commissioning Ceremony.

Ross Allen, Jennifer Anderson, Soniel Barbosa III, Charles Bransom, Daniel Bless, Rachel Brass, Malcolm Clayton, Chance Collard, Lauren Conner, Ricardo Flores, David Grimes III, Jacob Hagood, Forrest LeBlanc, Enrique Lopez Jr., Colby Morgan, Dante Payne, Meghan Purcell, Travis Roland and Milthon Servin all took the U.S. Army oath of office before receiving their degrees during one of SHSU’s four commencement ceremonies over the weekend.

The guest speaker for the event was Maj. Gen. James K. Brown, commanding general of the 36th infantry division in the Texas Army National Guard, who, among other points, recognized the family members for their support, sacrifice and dedication.

“He acknowledged the incredible commitment that our young officers are making and that they represent a small percentage of our population that have a desire to serve, are able to serve, and that complete all the tasks to commission,” said Lt. Col. David Yebra, chair of the military science department. “Maj. Gen. Brown also touched on the honor it is as an officer to lead the world’s best non commissioned officer corps and America’s treasure—our young soldiers.”

The 19 commissioned soldiers will go on to careers in various Army branches and serve in stations all over the world.

“I am incredibly proud of this graduating class,” Yebra said. “They distinguished themselves academically, physically and militarily.

“Seven of the new lieutenants graduated as distinguished military graduates—a designation reserved for those in the top 20 percent in the country of approximately 5,400 cadets commissioning. Two of the cadets, Rachel Brass and Colby Morgan, were in the top 10 percent in the country,” Yebra said. “They will not only excel as active duty officers, but will also make a significant contribution to society as members of the Army National Guard, and U.S. Army Reserve.”

Allen, a Grand Saline native,entered the ROTC program with a four-year scholarship and served in various leadership positions within the Bearkat Battalion throughout his collegiate career, including platoon sergeant and platoon leader and an MS I and II lab instructor.

A distinguished military graduate who earned Magna Cum Laude honors during commencement, Allen received his Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice.

He received an active duty commission and will serve his first duty assignment in Sembach, Germany, as a military police officer.

Anderson, a San Antonio native, joined the program with a three and a half year Army ROTC scholarship, holding several leadership positions during her collegiate career and also served on the ROTC Cannon Crew for two years.

Anderson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and received a reserve duty commission.

She will serve her first duty assignment as a quartermaster officer in Garner, N.C.

Barbosa, a Mission native, served as a simultaneous membership program cadet with the HHC 536th BSB in Huntsville while in the ROTC.

During his time in the Bearkat Battalion, he was a platoon sergeant, held the Charlie Company Commander position, and was a Platoon Leader and an evaluator for Bravo Company. He also participated on the Ranger Company and the award-winning Ranger Challenge team, received the “Outstanding Cadet Award” in 2010 and was an active member of the Order of Omega Honor Society.

A distinguished military graduate, Barbosa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and received an active duty commission as a quartermaster officer, serving his first duty assignment in the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment at Vilseck, Germany.

Bless, a Melissa native, participated in ROTC through a two-year Army ROTC scholarship and held various leadership positions in the program, also serving as a member of the ROTC Color Guard for one year.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and received an active duty commission as an infantry officer, serving his first duty assignment at Fort Hood.

Bransom, a La Feria native, joined the Bearkat Battalion as a recipient of a four-year Army ROTC scholarship.

While participating in the Bearkat Battalion, Bransom held leadership positions such as company commander and captain/head coach of the Bearkat Marksmanship Unit. He was also a founding member of Alpha Gamma Rho Agricultural Fraternity.

Bransom graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in interdisciplinary agricultural engineering and technology and received an active duty commission as an ordnance officer. His first duty assignment is in Hawaii.

Brass, a Huntsville native, served in the ROTC through the simultaneous membership program with the Texas Army National Guard’s 536th BSB in Huntsville.

In addition to several leadership positions within the Bearkat Battalion, Brass was also an adviser on the transfer student advisory board, a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, and treasurer for the Optimist Club.

A distinguished military graduate, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in psychology, received an active duty commission as a medical service corps officer, and will serve her first duty assignment in Germany.

Clayton, a Fort Hood native, attended SHSU through a four-year Army ROTC scholarship.

In addition to serving in leadership positions within the Bearkat Battalion, he was a member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, for which he also served in various leadership positions.

Clayton graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and received a reserve duty commission, for which he will serve in the Army Reserve as a quartermaster officer at Fort Hood.

Collard, a Pearland native, entered the ROTC program with a four-year Army ROTC scholarship.

During his participation in the Bearkat Battalion, Collard served in various leadership positions, was a member of the Schuder’s Ranger Company and participated in the Color Guard.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and received a reserve duty commission, for which he will serve as an engineer officer with the 75th Division—Mission Command Training in Houston.

Conner, a Humble native, joined the ROTC program with a four-year Army ROTC scholarship.

She served in various leadership positions with the ROTC, was a member of the Delta Tau Alpha Agriculture Honor Society, an active member of the Schuder’s Ranger Company and was the recipient of the Daughters of the American Legion award and the USAA Spirit Award.

Conner graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture and received an active duty commission as a medical service corps officer. Her first duty assignment will be at Fort Drum, N.Y.

Flores, a Houston native, joined the ROTC as a simultaneous membership program cadet in the Army Reserve with the 1002nd Quartermaster Detachment.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and received his first active duty assignment as a military intelligence officer at Fort Hood.

Grimes, a Sugar Land native, was the recipient of a three-year Army ROTC scholarship and served as the ROTC public affairs officer and also participated in the leadership development program.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and received a reserve duty commission with the corps of engineers, for which he will serve his first duty assignment with the 75th Division—Mission Command Training in Houston.

Hagood, a Hutto native, joined the ROTC as a three-year Army ROTC scholarship recipient.

He served in various leadership positions, including the Cadet Battalion Executive Officer during his last semester at SHSU. He was also the founding father in Alpha Gamma Rho for Sam Houston Colony his senior year.

Hagood graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture and received an active duty commission as an aviation officer. His first duty assignment will be at Fort Rucker, Ala.

LeBlanc, a Lafayette, La., native, enrolled at SHSU as a recipient of a four-year Army ROTC scholarship.

He held numerous positions within the Bearkat Battalion and also participated in many organizations, including attending Airborne School, serving as a member of the Color Guard and Schuder’s Rangers, and was a member of the Elliott T. Bowers Honors College, Golden Key International Honour Society, Forrest Lodge No. 19, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, San Jacinto Chapter No. 7 Royal Arch Masons, Huntsville Council No. 12 Royal and Select Masters, Lone Star Commandery No. 114, and the Sam Houston Shrine Club.

He also was the recipient of the Marcus Luttrell Scholarship and Schuder’s Rangers Outstanding Scroll Award.

A distinguished military graduate who earned Cum Laude honors, LeBlanc earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history and received an active duty commission as an infantry officer. His first duty assignment will be at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Lopez, a Houston native, joined the ROTC program and served as a simultaneous membership program cadet in the Army Reserve with 1-158th Aviation Regiment.

A distinguished military graduate, Lopez graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting. He received an active duty commission and will serve as a finance officer with the 142nd CSSB at Fort Bliss.

Morgan, a Carthage native, joined the Bearkat Battalion as the recipient of a two-year Army ROTC scholarship and trained with 2-14 Infantry Battalion prior to coming to SHSU.

During his ROTC participation, Morgan served in numerous leadership positions, including as the battalion commander and company TAC officer, and was a member of the Ranger Challenge and Schuder’s Rangers and the Color Guard. He was also the recipient of Schuder’s Rangers “Candidate of the Year” and Schuder’s Rangers Scroll of the year awards, as well as receiving the James Dennis Bazan Scholarship.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and received an active duty commission as an infantry officer. His first duty assignment will be at Fort Campbell, Ky.

A Houston native, Payne served in the United States Army for five years at Ft. Polk, La., during which time he was deployed to Iraq for 13 months and received the Combat Action Badge, before serving in the SHSU ROTC as a simultaneous membership program cadet with the 1st Battalion, 378th Regiment, 1st Brigade.

During his time in ROTC, Payne was a platoon leader and a platoon TAC officer, as well as a member in The Exceptional Men of the Talented Tenth and an honor student in the kinesiology department.
Payne graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology, received an active duty commission and will serve as an ordnance officer with the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood.

Purcell, a Cypress native, joined the Bearkat Battalion as a recipient of a four-year Army ROTC scholarship.

During her participation in the Bearkat Battalion, Purcell served in numerous leadership positions. She was a member of the Elliott T. Bowers Honors College, a member of the Alpha Chi Honor Society, was on the Dean’s List for four years, and received the “Who’s Who Among Students” recognition.

A distinguished military graduate who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, Purcell received an active duty commission and will serve as adjutant general officer at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Roland, a Conroe native, joined the program as a four-year Army ROTC scholarship recipient.

Roland served in numerous leadership positions in the Bearkat Battalion, including as the command sergeant major, the battalion executive officer and headquarters company commander. He also was the recipient of the Top Marksman Award during his third year in the Bearkat Battalion, successfully completed Airborne School and was a member of the SHSU rugby team.

A distinguished military graduate, who earned Summa Cum Laude honors, Roland received a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice. He received an active duty commission and will serve as an infantry officer at Fort Hood.

Servin, a Houston native, enrolled at SHSU as the recipient of a four-year Army ROTC scholarship.

While in ROTC, Servin served as a maintenance officer and a platoon TAC officer, participated in Schuder’s Rangers and was a member of the ROTC Color Guard and Cannon Crew. In addition, he played on the ROTC intramurals team for four years, is a member of the Forrest Masonic Lodge No. 19 AF&AM, and is a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

Servin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and received an active duty commission serving as a transportation officer at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.


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