NAU Army ROTC program ranked first in region, top eight nationally

NAU’s Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program has been ranked first in its eight-state region and in the top eight of 274 programs nationally.

The U.S. Army Cadet Command announced the winners of the 2019-2020 MacArthur Awards in December. The award selects the top programs for each of the country’s eight brigades. NAU Army ROTC won the top spot in the country’s 5th Brigade, which is composed of 34 programs.

The 5th Brigade is made up of units in eight states: Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas.

“It is such an honor for NAU to receive this award,” said NAU President Rita Hartung Cheng. “It is a well-deserved recognition of NAU’s dedicated cadets, the program’s leadership and NAU’s faculty and staff. I’m thrilled they have been recognized.”

Lt. Col. Timothy Sartori and Master Sgt. John Ozment lead NAU’s ROTC program, which had been ranked in second place in the brigade in the past. This is the first time it is ranked first.

“We are honored with this recognition,” Sartori said. “To have an opportunity to compete on the national stage speaks volumes about the dedication of our staff to train and mentor the next generation of Army officers earning their commissions. We are thrilled to have the support of the university’s leadership in completing our mission of training the future leaders of our country.”

The award was presented by Cadet Command and the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Foundation. Rankings take into account academics, the school’s achievement of its commissioning mission, cadet performance, its standing on the National Order of Merit list, and cadet retention rate.

NAU Army ROTC Cadet Byron Krepcho, a senior communications major, is a former Army master sergeant who joined ROTC to earn his officer rank while pursuing his degree at NAU.

“Earning the MacArthur Award is a great honor and says a lot about the dedication of the cadets and leadership of the NAU battalion,” Krepcho said. “I feel confident that my ROTC training at NAU is preparing me to be the best possible officer in the military after graduating from NAU.”

NAU’s Army ROTC program produces 30 commissioned officers annually. Half are STEM majors with an average GPA of 3.38.

Nationally, Army ROTC issues $365 million in scholarships to cadets annually. In the 5th Brigade alone, the Army awarded $36.7 million in cadet scholarships.

“We believe in the mission to train young, talented, smart and dedicated leaders,” Ozment said. “NAU attracts some of the best students in the country, and we are thrilled to play an important role in their education and contribute to funding their education.”

The NAU Army ROTC program has 140 cadets this year; 80 are scholarship recipients. Army ROTC also mentors four junior ROTC in local high schools.

For more information on NAU’s Army ROTC program, visit https://in.nau.edu/army-rotc/