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ROTC cadets named top in nation

Submitted by Marmian Grimes
Phone: (907) 474-7902

12/21/05

ROTC cadets Christopher Eby, Jessie Janes, Linda Tomisser, Kevin Wehner and Erik Peterson.

Fairbanks, Alaska--Five senior cadets in the University of Alaska Fairbanks ROTC program were recently selected as distinguished military graduates for the 2005-2006 academic year.

The cadets were ranked among the top 20 percent of the nation's young military leaders, according to the Department of the Army Order of Merit List. The list ranks nearly 4,000 ROTC cadets. Those selected are: Christopher Eby, of Concord, Va., who is pursuing a criminal justice degree: Jessie Janes, of Butte, Mont., who is pursuing a degree in economics; Linda Tomisser, of Anchorage, Alaska, who is pursuing a biology degree; and Kevin Wehner, of North Pole, Alaska, who is pursing a degree in business administration. The fifth cadet, Erik Peterson, of Centennial, Colo., graduated this month with leadership honors and a master's degree in computational physics and was commissioned as a second lieutenant of infantry on Dec. 17.

"Being selected as a Distinguished Military Graduate is a considerable accomplishment," said Lt. Col. Cameron Carlson, a military science professor for the Army ROTC program at UAF. "It says that you are one of the top performers in the country. It shows that you truly have the attributes of a scholar, an athlete and a leader."

Each fall, ROTC units at nearly 400 colleges in the United States, Guam and Puerto Rico submit packets that allow the Army to create the Order of Merit List. The cadet's placement on the list is based on college grade point average and performance in the ROTC program and on the Leader Development and Assessment Course, attended during the summer between a cadet's junior and senior years.

"The course is a cadet's capstone assessment event, the most important off-campus training they will get before they become officers in the Army," said Capt. Peter Nesbitt, the instructor responsible for preparing cadets for the course each year. "It is the ultimate test of a young leader's ability."

Carlson said UAF has the highest percentage of cadets earning the distinction within the 13th Brigade, which serves schools in the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Rim.

"Most schools have one or two cadets who score in the top 20 percent," he explained. "To have five, over half of our graduating cadets, is just unprecedented."

The cadets who earned the distinction received their first choice of specialties and assignments. Three have chosen to go into active duty and two have elected to join the reserves.

"I am exceptionally proud of these cadets as well as the cadre who trained them," Carlson said. "We work hard to create an atmosphere that stresses academic excellence and produces quality leaders through tough training. These results demonstrate that we are doing just that."

CONTACT: Lt. Col. Cameron Carlson, UAF ROTC program, at (907) 474-6854 or via e-mail at ffcdc@uaf.edu. UAF Public Information Officer Marmian Grimes at (907) 474-7902 or via e-mail at marmian.grimes@uaf.edu.

All photos are courtesy UAF ROTC. High-resolution photographs are available for download.

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