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Published September 22, 2020
Mathew Waugh, a senior at the University of Wyoming, is the first UW Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadet to receive the prestigious Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement Award.
Among the more than 4,000 Army ROTC cadets from 274 Army ROTC programs in the nation, only one is chosen annually to receive the prestigious award. The Legion of Valor is given to an outstanding junior or senior cadet for military, academic, leadership and extracurricular excellence.
Waugh, from Portville, N.Y., is part of UW’s Cowboy Battalion.
“I think it’s a really cool honor to have,” Waugh says. “I was pretty excited about it. I did what the cadre wants us to do and expects us to do, and put my best foot forward.”
His award will be displayed in the hallway of Hill Hall among all past UW cadets who achieved significant honors for the UW Army ROTC program. Bringing honor and demonstrating excellence are a testament to Waugh’s dedication, says Lt. Col. J. Curtis, UW Army ROTC professor of military science.
“His academic abilities, coupled with his outstanding leadership within the University of Wyoming ROTC battalion, illustrate what can be achieved through dedication and hard work,” Curtis says. “Waugh embodies what it means to be a Cowboy Battalion cadet.”
Inspired by his father, Waugh believes that doing the best he can is what sets him apart.
“Being a good team member, a hard worker and having a good attitude get you where you need to be -- that is what I grew up on,” Waugh says. “I think hard work pays off.”
Curtis says he is proud of Waugh's accomplishment as a Legion of Valor Bronze Cross recipient.
“This award further personifies the excellence and commitment to academics and leadership within the Cowboy Battalion, and serves as inspiration to each cadet within the battalion,” he adds.
Waugh hopes receiving this award will not only be an honor for him, but also something that will inspire younger cadets in the program.
“I want to be a good example for younger cadets and stress the importance of school, athletics, being a good leader and a good teammate to everybody,” he says. “If I can do that, I will be happy.”
Waugh, an international studies major, aspires to serve as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army after graduating from UW. He wants to continue to demonstrate the characteristics of an outstanding leader.
“I think being a good leader means being someone approachable -- someone who is in it with the team, somebody who is reliable and easy to work with,” Waugh says. “That is the kind of leader I want to be.”
Due to UW’s pause because of COVID-19 concerns, Waugh’s awards ceremony was temporarily postponed and will be rescheduled.