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UW Army ROTC Receives Cochise Award for Excellence

February 24, 2015
two men in camoflage uniforms in wooded area
Sophomore Cadet Ben McArthur (left), an engineering major from Afton, and junior Cadet Chad Parris, an English major from Douglas, discuss how to accomplish a leadership task at an Army ROTC training event. The UW Army ROTC was recently honored with the 2013-14 Cochise Award for the Best Small Unit in the 5th Brigade.

The University of Wyoming Army ROTC has received the 2013-14 Cochise Award for the Best Small Unit in the 5th Brigade, which covers the region from Wyoming to Texas and Arizona to Arkansas. The 5th Brigade consists of 36 host schools and more than 20 smaller or satellite schools.

The UW Cowboy Battalion was selected for the honor based, in part, on the quantity and quality of commissioned officers the program produces. In 2014, the UW Army ROTC commissioned 19 second lieutenants. In 2015, the program is poised to commission 23 -- a number that is 153 percent above mission requirements.

“For a small school, UW out-produces many of the medium and large programs in regard to quantity and quality of commissioned officers,” says Lt. Col. Mitch Day, UW Army ROTC department chair and professor of military science. “We have doubled the size of the program over the last few years and, each year, we have been in the top percentages in Army Cadet Command in several areas of measured excellence.”

The U.S. Army Cadet Command consists of 273 Army ROTC programs located at colleges and universities throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, with an enrollment of more than 35,000 cadets.

The UW Army ROTC also has produced multiple distinguished military graduates (DMGs) -- those recognized as being in the top 10 percent of the nation. In 2014, the program had two DMGs; in 2015, the program has six. One of those, Cadet Aaron Goodwin, an economics major from Cheyenne, is the No. 9 cadet in the nation out of more than 5,600 cadets. Goodwin’s ranking was determined by a number of criteria including grade point average, physical fitness and performance during summer training.

“Aaron’s achievements are commendable, although we have an entire program full of equally accomplished and capable cadets,” Day says. “Aaron and the other seniors, along with our cadre, are helping teach those in the freshman through junior classes how to be successful in not only ROTC and the military, but life in general.”

In addition to being recognized for the quantity and quality of commissioned officers, the Cowboy Battalion was honored with the award for meeting all other requirements established to recruit, retain, train and commission officers.

“Our students have a real sense of Cowboy pride that leads to the successes like the Cochise Award,” Day says. “Add to that our partnership with the University of Wyoming and our relationships with local law enforcement and the community, and UW Army ROTC is unbeatable.”

The UW program is being considered nationally for the General Douglas MacArthur Award, the top honor for overall excellence.

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