ROTC Awards

Annual Event Recognizes Achievements, Service, and Work of Military Cadets

April 29, 2015
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Army Lt. Col. Ciro C. Stefano, Bay State Battalion Commander, and retired Brig. Gen. Paul Smith (center) chat with cadets following the awards ceremony.In both “Theory and Practice,” the accomplishments of the military cadets at WPI greatly contribute to the campus culture. In recognition of their journeys, the university hosted its annual Army and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Joint Awards Ceremony earlier this month.

“This event is an opportunity for Army, Air Force, WPI, and the extended community to recognize outstanding cadets for scholarship, leadership, and service.” said Lt. Col. Michael L. DeRosa, the Detachment 340 AFROTC commander. “The cadets work hard, and this is an opportunity to celebrate their personal successes in challenging academic and military programs.”

DeRosa, who is also department head of Air Force and Aerospace Studies on campus, said that recognition of the military students’ efforts made this a meaningful and important event.

Cadet Liam Parker was awarded the Association of the United States Army Military History Award.The ceremony was held at Alden Memorial, WPI’s first auditorium, with over 75 years of history. Events from American heritage and culture are commemorated on large stained-glass window medallions. “This recognition occurs in an open forum so that fellow cadets, school leadership, and private community organizations all participate in the recognition of top students,” DeRosa said. “As a result, this ceremony reinforces high standards, promotes pride in the military, and in academic excellence.”

Some 56 cadets were honored with awards and certificates in 47 categories, including the American Veterans Award, Daughters of the American Revolution Award, and Distinguished Military Graduate. Assisting in the presentation of awards was Army Lt. Col. Ciro C. Stefano, Bay State Battalion Commander and WPI professor of military science.

Staff from other universities, including Worcester State, Fitchburg State, and Anna Maria College, were recognized for their contributions, as were WPI’s Dean of Undergraduate Studies Art Heinricher and Dean of Students Philip Clay. Also acknowledged during the ceremony were the supporting efforts of the National Guard and Reserve units who contribute to the ROTC programs on campus.

Cadet Marissa Vazquez received the Department of the Army Superior Cadet Award.The guest speaker was Brig. Gen. Paul Smith (Ret.). His presence and speech served as an inspiration to those gathered by providing context to the history of a WPI military cadet graduate who has not only served his country, but continues to carry the traditions of the university into the workplace.

“General Smith was a cadet 38 years ago in ROTC at WPI,” DeRosa explained. “He focused his career on service to others as a civilian educator and administrator, and as a Minuteman in the Massachusetts Army National Guard. In the former, he rose to the position of assistant principal at Oakmont Regional High School, a position he currently holds; in the latter, he served a successful career, culminating as Assistant Adjutant General and Land Component Commander the Mass. National Guard.”

Lt. Col. Michael L. DeRosa, Detachment 340 AFROTC commander, offers his congratulations.General Smith’s story bridges the gap between the past and present, as his years of service have led to a continued place in the education of today’s youth, as well as in the challenges and troubles of modern day society. “We talk to the cadets about the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous challenges our nation faces today,” DeRosa said. “General Smith has lived this as the commander of Massachusetts Guard forces during the Boston Marathon bombing.”

If this year’s awards event was any indication, the ceremony, which dates back to at least 2001, will continue well into the future.

Alden Hall was filled for the ROTC award program.“This event was even better than the one last year,” DeRosa said. “The Army and Air Force teams worked hard to put together an exciting event for the cadets, their friends, and their families.”

All cadets are from WPI unless otherwise  noted. The awards were as follows:

Bay State Battalion Community Service Award

This award recognizes cadets (one from each school) who provide outstanding and selfless service to their schools and the community. Their dedication and hard work over the past 12 months have not only set the example for their fellow cadets, but their communities as well.

Cadet Rebecca Fondakowski (Assumption College), Cadet Esteban Bonilla Perez (Fitchburg State University),Cadet Christopher Kelleher (UMass Lowell)

Cadet Jessica Gautieri is awarded the Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America Award.Noncommissioned Officer Award

This award is given to an Aerospace Studies cadet who displays diligence, hard work, timeliness, and character in the eyes of the detachment’s noncommissioned officers.

Cadet Sean Regan

Sergeant York Award

This award recognizes the cadet who has made a significant contribution to the battalion through unselfish giving of time and effort.

Cadet Jonathan Rheume

American Veterans Award

This award recognizes a first year cadet who demonstrates a positive attitude toward ROTC and the Air Force or Army, a neat personal appearance, outstanding personal attributes, and officer potential. To be eligible, a cadet must have received an “A” in ROTC in the most recent grading period and be in good academic standing.

Cadet Edward Van Atten

Military Order of World Wars Award

This medal recognizes a freshman, sophomore, and junior cadet who demonstrate an outstanding desire to serve ROTC and the United States, and who are considered most improved in the categories of military and scholastic excellence.

Army Bronze Award – Cadet Jack Rocchio (Fitchburg State University)

Army Silver Award – Cadet Brian Amato

Army Gold Award – Cadet Kyle Foley

Air Force Bronze Award – Cadet Walter Gallati

Air Force Silver Award – Cadet Jacob Billington

Air Force Gold Award – Cadet Francis McLaughlin (Worcester State University)

Association of the U.S. Army National ROTC Medal

This medal is awarded to a Military Science junior cadet ranking in the top 10% in ROTC grades, top 25% in academic grades, and having contributed the most through leadership to advance the standing of Military Science at the institution.

Cadet Ryan Kennedy (UMass Lowell)

Association of the U.S. Army Minuteman Chapter Award

This award is given to an outstanding senior cadet who personifies the ideals of the Association of the U.S. Army.

Cadet Zachary Hartzell

Association of U.S. Army Military History

This book is awarded to a cadet who has completed the military history course in the current year and demonstrated strong military aptitude.

Cadet Liam Parker (College of the Holy Cross)

Sons of the American Revolution Award

This award recognizes an outstanding junior cadet at each unit. To be eligible, a cadet must demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities, military bearing, and all-around excellence in ROTC studies and activities.

Air Force – Cadet Christopher Cahill

Army – Cadet Taylor Powers (UMass Lowell)

Military Order of the Purple Heart Award

This award recognizes a ROTC student who displays exceptional leadership traits while active in school and community affairs.

Air Force – Cadet Richard Seery (College of the Holy Cross)

Army – Cadet Nicholas Boire (College of the Holy Cross)

Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America Award

This award recognizes an outstanding sophomore at each unit. To be eligible, a cadet must excel in the Aerospace Studies/Military Science class and demonstrate dependability, good character, discipline, leadership potential, patriotism, and an understanding of the importance of the American heritage.

Air Force – Cadet Sean Regan

Army – Cadet Jessica Gautieri (Anna Maria College)

Scottish Rite Award

This award recognizes one outstanding sophomore or junior cadet who excels in academic class, demonstrates patriotism, shows potential for outstanding leadership, and exhibits dependability, good character and self-discipline.

Air Force – Cadet Miles Schuler

Army – Cadet Alexandra MacLaren

National Sojourners Award

This award recognizes an outstanding sophomore or junior xadet at each unit who has contributed the most to encourage and demonstrate Americanism within the cadet corps and on campus. A cadet must rank in the top 25% in academic grades, encourage and demonstrate the ideals of Americanism, and demonstrate the potential for outstanding leadership.

Air Force – Cadet Jarrod Peloquin

Army – Cadet Alexander Wright (UMass Lowell)

Society of the War of 1812 Award

This award recognizes an outstanding sophomore cadet in each unit who encourages and demonstrates the ideals of Americanism. The cadet must rank in the top 20 percent of academic class, rank in the top 10 percent of AS class, and encourage and demonstrate the ideals of Americanism by deed, conduct, or both.

Air Force – Cadet Savannah Redetzke

Army – Cadet Justin Moran (UMass Lowell)

Veterans of Foreign Wars Award

This award recognizes an outstanding cadet who is actively engaged in the ROTC program and possesses individual characteristics contributing to leadership. To be eligible, cadets must be in good standing academically and militarily. They must also have outstanding achievement in community service and/or the cadet program, outstanding leadership in the cadet program, high moral character, exceptional professionalism in appearance and actions, outstanding military bearing, potential and willingness to assume higher levels of responsibility—and be involved in patriotic programs, such as drill team, color guard, Arnold Air Society, or recruiting.

Air Force – Cadet Jacob Billington

Army – Cadet Cody Wood

Military Officers Association of America Award

This award recognizes an outstanding junior cadet at each unit. To be eligible, a cadet must be in good academic standing, be of high moral character, show a high order of loyalty to the unit, school, and country, and show exceptional potential for military leadership.

Air Force – Cadet Mitchell Greene

Army – Cadet Liam Koenen

Reserve Officers Association Award

This award recognizes outstanding cadets at each unit. Cadets must demonstrate a positive attitude, a neat personal appearance, officer potential, and military courtesy. Additionally, they must rank in the top 10% of their Aerospace Studies/Military Science class.

Air Force – Cadets John Schutes, Miles Schuler, Jarrod Peloquin

Army – Cadet Seth Kraft (College of the Holy Cross)

Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Honor Certificate

This award recognizes a cadet in a scientific or technical field who has demonstrated leadership and achievement in academics.

Air Force – Cadet Iok Wong

Army – Cadet Esteban Bonilla Perez (Fitchburg State University)

National Defense Transportation Association Award

This award recognizes one outstanding senior cadet at each unit who demonstrates excellence in leadership, academics, aptitude for military service, and noteworthy service in the promotion of safety or security of people or property.

Air Force – Cadet Andrew Andraka

Army – Cadet Ryan Kennedy (UMass Lowell)

American Legion Military Excellence Award

This award recognizes cadets at each unit for general military excellence. To be eligible, a cadet must rank in the top 25% of the respective Aerospace Studies/Military Science class and demonstrate outstanding qualities in military leadership, discipline, character and citizenship.

Army Bronze Award – Cadet Marcus Knodler

Army Silver Award – Cadet Daniel O’Donnell (Fitchburg State University)

Army Gold Award – Cadet Alex Sampson (UMass Lowell)

Air Force Bronze Award – Cadet Walter Gallati

Air Force Silver Award – Cadet Savannah Reditzke

Air Force Gold Award – Cadet Andrew Andraka

American Legion Scholastic Excellence Award

This award recognizes a freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior cadet at each unit for scholastic achievement. To be eligible, cadets must rank in the upper 10% of their graduating class and in the upper 25% of their Aerospace Studies/Military Science class, must demonstrate outstanding military leadership qualities, and must actively participate in constructive student activities such as student organizations or sports.

Air Force Bronze Award – Cadet Brian Gasco (Worcester State University)

Air Force Silver Award – Cadet Sean Hathaway

Air Force Gold Award – Cadet Kelsey Brofford

Army Bronze Award – Cadet Luke Miller (College of the Holy Cross)

Army Silver Award – Cadet Andrew Fini (Worcester State University)

Army Gold Award – Cadet Cody Wood

Daughters of the American Revolution Award

This award recognizes one outstanding senior Cadet at each unit. To be eligible, cadets must rank in the top 25% of both the Aerospace Studies/Military Science class and the institution’s graduating class. They must also demonstrate dependability, good character, discipline, leadership ability, and a fundamental and patriotic understanding of the importance of ROTC.

Air Force – Cadet Elias Minor

Army – Cadet Erin Fredette (Anna Maria College)

Association of Old Crows Scholarship Award

This scholarship recognizes an outstanding cadet based on the following criteria: value to the cadet’s school and unit, officer potential, school and ROTC grades, and financial need.

Air Force – Cadet Mariella Creaghan

Army – Cadet Thomas Sameski (Fitchburg State University)

Lexington-Concord Chapter Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Scholarship Award

This scholarship recognizes a junior or senior cadet who is majoring in a scientific or technical field and demonstrates outstanding officer potential.

Air Force – Cadet Daniel Long

Army – Cadet Patrick Gooden (Fitchburg State University)

Wingman Award

This award recognizes demonstrated exceptional selflessness, dedication, and commitment to the Air Force ROTC mission and members of the Detachment 340 Cadet Wing.

Cadet Brent Young

Worcester Veterans Council

This award recognizes an outstanding cadet based on leadership, performance, attitude, military bearing and appearance.

Air Force – Cadet Jacob Billington

Army – Cadet Corin Swarbrick (Fitchburg State University)

Kenneth J. Kubilins Memorial Award

This memorial award recognizes an outstanding Aerospace Studies freshman cadet as voted by peers, based on the following criteria: leadership, wing performance, attitude, military bearing, and appearance. The award is named in memory of 2d Lt Kenneth J. ”Kahn” Kubilins, a 1983 WPI and Air Force ROTC Detachment 340 graduate killed during training when his T-38 crashed at Vance Air Force Base in October 1984.

Cadet Brian Gasco (Worcester State University)

Brigadier General John E. Murray Award

This award recognizes the overall excellence of a cadet in the Aerospace Studies freshman class.

Cadet Jacob Bryant

General Hoyt S. Vandenberg Award

This award recognizes an outstanding Aerospace Studies sophomore cadet as voted by peers, based on the following criteria: leadership, wing performance, attitude, military bearing, and appearance.

Cadet Jonathan Comden

General Curtis LeMay Award

This award recognizes the overall excellence of a cadet in the Aerospace Studies sophomore class.

Cadet Sean Regan

Armed Forces Committee of Worcester County Award For AFROTC and AROTC

The Air Force award recognizes an outstanding Aerospace Studies junior cadet as voted by peers, based on the following criteria: leadership, wing performance, attitude, military bearing, and appearance. The Army award recognizes an outstanding Army cadet based on the following criteria: leadership, performance, attitude, military bearing and appearance.

Air Force – Cadet Daniel Long

Army – Cadet Devin Stevens

Air Force Association Award

This award recognizes the most outstanding junior cadet at each Air Force ROTC unit. The award is based on a cadet’s personal attributes, attitude, officer potential, military courtesy and appearance. To be eligible, a cadet must rank in the upper 5% of the junior class and the upper 10% of the graduating class.

Cadet Daniel Long

Society of American Military Engineers Award

The Society of American Military Engineers award recognizes outstanding junior and senior engineering students in Army ROTC. The purpose of this award is to impress upon undergraduate engineering students, by appropriate recognition of meritorious promise of achievement in the field, the importance of engineering to national security. To be eligible, cadets must rank in the upper 25% of their engineering class and in the top 25% of their ROTC classes.

Cadet Cody Wood

Steven J. Duso Memorial Award

This memorial award recognizes an outstanding senior Aerospace Studies cadet as voted by peers, based on the following criteria: leadership, wing performance, attitude, military bearing, and appearance. The award is named in memory of Steven J. Duso, an Air Force ROTC Detachment 340 Cadet who died while soloing from Sterling Airport on 22 November 1980.

Cadet Daniel Long

Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts Award

This award is given to a Military Science senior cadet who demonstrates outstanding motivation and military aptitude, preferably with National Guard service or aspiration to it.

Cadet Matthew Piranian (UMass Lowell)

Archibald R. Lemieux Award

This award recognizes the outstanding cadet of any Aerospace Studies year as voted by the entire cadet wing, based on leadership, wing performance, attitude, military bearing, and appearance.

Cadet Daniel Long

Laura Matejik Memorial Award

CPT Laura Metajik Eberts was an alumnus of the WPI Army ROTC Bay State Battalion, commissioning with the Class of 2004. She was a varsity athlete in field hockey and rugby at WPI, an avid long distance runner, and she graduated with a 4.0 in biomedical engineering. After receiving her juris doctor from George Washington University, she served as JAG Corps officer at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2010. She is remembered by all as a dedicated wife, soldier, classmate, and friend. The cadet receiving this award is an embodiment of the spirit of Laura and all that she stood for.

Cadet Jessica Gautieri (Anna Maria College)

Professor of Military Science Award

This award recognizes the outstanding leadership of the Cadet Battalion Commanders.

Cadet Matthew Dunn (College of the Hooly Cross), first semester commander

Cadet Julia Hartzell, second semester commander

Professor of Aerospace Science Award

This award recognizes the outstanding leadership of the cadet wing commanders.

Cadet Kelsey Brofford, first semester commander

Cadet Andrew Andraka, second semester commander

Department of the Army Superior Cadet Award

This award is given annually to the outstanding ROTC cadet in each year of Military Science at the institution. The cadet must be in the top 25% of ROTC and academic standing. Selection criteria consist of ROTC Scholarship and GPA, Academic Scholarship and GPA, Military Leadership and Academic Leadership.

MSI – Cadet Marissa Vazquez (Worcester State University)

MSII – Cadet Nathan Caso

MSIII – Cadet Kyle Foley

MSIV – Cadet Seth McGeehan (UMass Lowell)

General George C. Marshall Award

This award is given to the most outstanding Military Science senior cadet having completed the ROTC Leadership Development and Assessment Course who demonstrated those leadership and scholastic qualities that epitomized the career of General Marshall.

Cadet Matthew Dunn (College of the Holy Cross)

Distinguished Military Graduate

The Army Cadet Command National Order of Merit List (OML) ranks all Army ROTC seniors across the nation. Cadet rankings are based on several criteria, including: academic GPA, athletic performance, on-campus ROTC training and performance at the Cadet Leadership Course at Fort Knox. The outstanding cadets in the top 20% of the nation earn the distinction of Distinguished Military Graduate.

Cadets Matthew Dunn (College of the Holy Cross) and Julia Hartzell

Commander’s Trophy

This trophy recognizes the Aerospace Studies senior cadet who best demonstrates outstanding future officer potential through inspirational leadership, dedication, and selfless service.

Cadet Kelsey Brofford

Wing Commander Award

This award recognizes the outstanding leadership and discipline of AFROTC’s Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 Cadet Wing Commanders.

Cadets Kelsey Brofford and Andrew Andraka

Air Force Association Paul Revere Award

This award recognizes one outstanding AS300 cadet at each detachment who demonstrate characteristics contributing to leadership and future potential as an officer. Nominees must have a positive attitude toward AFROTC, show initiative and self-confidence, be of high moral character, and reflect a positive image of the United States Air Force.

Cadet Francis McLaughlin (Worcester State University)

The Army Values—Superior Leadership Award

This award recognizes the one cadet in the battalion that best exemplifies the Army Values. The letters LDRSHIP are used to remember each one. Many people know what the words Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage mean; however, these values are not always lived up to. This award recognizes the one cadet who epitomizes these words every day of his life.

Cadet Matthew Dunn (College of the Holy Cross)

– BY RYAN MORIN