Army ROTC honors cadets for performance and achievements

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    TCU Army ROTC honored its cadets Thursday afternoon for their achievements with the program over the last year with medals, plaques, pins and even a sword.

    The program held its 63rd annual awards ceremony in the BLUU auditorium. Capt. Zach Grimes, executive officer of Army ROTC, said during his opening remarks that the cadets who were recognized had distinguished themselves through exemplary performance over the past year.

    Senior cadet Desiree Ortiz took home one of the program’s highest honors, the Corps Commander’s Sabre. The ceremonial sword is given to a senior cadet who exemplifies the qualities of an army officer: leading by example, and in Ortiz’s words, “a warrior spirit.”

    “When I walked up to get it, I felt like my knees kind of went limp,” Ortiz said. “I was just so excited because it’s been a work in the making. This program is very difficult to get through, so I just feel like it’s a great honor.”

    Col. JP Hogan (Ret.), who was representing the North Texas Chapter of the Association of the US Army, presented Ortiz with the award. Hogan said the sabre is the same as those that Roman soldiers would have received at the end of their training. He said the sword symbolizes that a cadet is ready to take on the responsibilities of a soldier.

    The sabre was one of 31 different awards that were presented during the ceremony attended by parents, friends, and army veterans.

    “The ceremony gives us the opportunity to formally recognize the cadets’ achievements throughout the year in front of their friends and family,” Grimes said.

    The awards recognized a number of different achievements and qualities. Some honored academic excellence, while others recognized patriotism. A number of different organizations presented awards, including the AUSA, the Military Officers Association of America and the National Defense Industrial Association.

    Junior cadet Jarrod McClendon said that the ceremony is a great chance not just to feel honored as an individual, but to appreciate the accomplishments of other cadets as well.

    “It’s a very motivating thing,” McClendon said. “Because a lot of the time, these guys feel like they probably aren’t appreciated, or maybe that no one sees the hard work they’re putting in. So for them to [do] that at the end of the year with an awards ceremony, it’s just a great thing.”