Brought To You By NSU; Written by Sid Hall Military Affairs Coordinator / ROTC Program Manager
Four Northwestern State University graduating seniors were commissioned as officers in the United States Army during a ceremony hosted by NSU’s Department of Military Science. The newly commissioned second lieutenants are Cade Davis and Taylor Dixon of Shreveport, Jimmy Lara of Paris, Texas, and Michael Shamblin of Dry Prong.
Davis commanded the Demon Battalion this past year. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a minor in Military Leadership. He will serve on active duty in the Military Intelligence Corps with a branch detail to Infantry.
While thanking his wife, Davis said, “Amanda, thank you for always encouraging me to pursue my dreams, and thank you for not just tagging along on this military journey of mine but embracing it as ours.”
Dixon served as the Battalion’s Operations Officer and Special Projects Officer. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and a minor in Military Leadership. She will serve on active duty, Infantry. Dixon is the first female Cadet to branch Infantry in the Demon Battalion’s history.
In her remarks, Dixon thanked her family and friends and included SFC Russell Mason, U.S. Army Retired, who was her JROTC Army instructor and mentor in high school. She said, “I would also like to thank SFC Mason for starting me on this journey. Before I met you, I never even thought twice about joining the military.” SFC Mason joined her on stage to render the first salute.
Lara served as the Battalion Command Sergeant Major this past year. He graduated with a Master of Science in Health and Human Performance with a concentration in Sport Administration. He has been selected for Signal Corps and will continue his service on active duty.
Lara thanked his wife, Cindy, who he said has been his stable rock throughout. “Thank you for the sacrifices you have made throughout our 11 years together. I can’t wait to see what life has in store for you, me, and our beautiful baby girl, Zoey Mae.”
Shamblin served as the Battalion Executive Officer and is the recipient of the Erbon W. Wise Touchstone Award, the highest honor for the Department of Military Science. Shamblin graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems and a minor in Military Leadership and has been selected for active duty, Aviation.
Shamblin credited his parents for his success. He thanked his mother for her assistance throughout school, and his father, LTC Darryl Shamblin, U.S. Army Retired, for guiding and training him to become an officer.
Each of the commissionees thanked the ROTC cadre for preparing them for military service. As Davis said, “Thank you for holding me to a higher standard than was more often than not, higher than my own. You pushed me to become a better leader and man and taught me valuable lessons that I will carry for the rest of my life.”
In his remarks, LTC Josh Drake, professor of Military Science, thanked the community for its continued support of the ROTC program. He acknowledged the seniors’ accomplishments these past four years, saying they set a new standard for the Demon Battalion, “with two Distinguished Military Graduates, the first RECONDO Award recipient in seven years at NSU, and all receiving Active Duty as well as their branch of choice – to include our first female Infantryman in Demon Battalion History.”
COL Marc Prymek, Commander of the Recruiting and Retention Command, Louisiana National Guard, served as the guest speaker. In addition to lessons learned from his 35-year career, he congratulated the commissionees and extended thanks to the ROTC program and families present saying, “Thank you for all the support you have given them growing up, and throughout their education and ROTC time. We know they didn’t do it alone. They will continue to rely on your family support wherever their careers take them.”
LTC Arthur Smalley, U.S. Army Retired, welcomed the commissionees into the Northwestern Demon Regiment, the Demon Battalion’s alumni arm, by presenting the Regiment’s coin. The Demon Regiment also gifted a copy of the “Army Officer’s Guide” to each new officer.
Later in the program, the title of Distinguished Military Graduate was awarded to Davis and Dixon “for displaying outstanding qualities of leadership, high moral character, noteworthy academic achievement, and exceptional aptitude for Military Service.” Only those who score in the top 20% of Cadets nationwide receive the honor.
Information on NSU’s ROTC program is located at https://rotc.nsula.edu/.