by Leah Jackson

Northwestern State University’s Department of Military Science hosted the fall 2022 awards ceremony Dec. 1 to recognized ROTC cadets for accomplishments this semester.

Beginning with academic honors, the program began with recognition of Dean’s List cadets and scholastic awards.  Recognized were Cadets Taylor Dixon, Jimmy Lara, Arianna Astorga, Peyton Bordelon, Loren Higginbotham, Brendan Campbell and Jaylon James. 

Military awards were presented to MS IV (senior) cadets instructed by Lt. Col. Joshua Drake.

Cadet Cade Davis, a history major, is Battalion Commander and captain of the Ranger Team.  He received the Cadet Scholar and ROTC Honors Award. Cadet Michael Shamblin, is majoring in computer information systems and information systems management.  He received the Cadet Scholar, ROTC Honors and PMS Scholastic Excellence Awards. Cadet Dylan Trueblood, who is majoring in general studies with a minor in computer and natural science, is the Battalion Administrative Officer.  He received ROTC Honors.

Awards were presented to MS III (junior) cadets instructed by Master Sergeant Michael Blakely.

Cadet Breanna James, a psychology major, is the Company First Sergeant.  She received the Cadet Honors, ROTC Honors and PMS Scholastic Excellence Awards. Cadet Andrew Wesley, who is majoring in physical science and chemistry, is eth Battalion Intelligence Officer.  He received the ROTC Honors Award. Cadet Brooklyn Guerra, Battalion Communications Officer, is a communications and sports media major.  She received the ROTC Honors Award.

Awards were presented to MS II (sophomore) cadets instructed by Maj. Jeffrey Christensen.

Cadet Jan Amu-tan, who is majoring in unified public safety administration and law enforcement administration, received the Cadet Scholar Award. Cadet Makenzie Cain, a criminal justice major, and Cadet Logan Falgout, a communications major, received the ROTC Honors Award.  Cadet Christian Holmes, an elementary education major, received the Cadet Honors Award. He also received the PMS Academic Award for the highest jump in GPA this semester and the PMS Achievement Medal for the most improved cadet. Cadet Quintavia Johnson, a nursing major, received the Cadet Scholar, ROTC Honors and the PMS Scholastic Excellence awards. Cadet Caiden Matthew, a computer information systems major, is Battalion Color Sergeant.  H received Cadet Honors, ROTC Honors and the PMS Scholastic Excellence awards. Cadet Kennedy Stewart, a health and exercise science major, received the ROTC Award.

Awards were presented to MS I (freshman) cadets instructed by Captain Kegan Davis.

Cadet Ethan Jones, a biology and natural science major, received the Cadet Honors Award. Cadet Lawson Turner, a communications/sports media major, received the Cadet Scholarship Award.

The PMS Commendation Medal recognizes those who have contributed extraordinary efforts to the program.  Cadets receiving the Commendation Medal were Michael Shamblin, Breanna James, Brendan Campbell, Jaylon James, Todd Gladish and Layla Theriot. 

To encourage cadets to punctually attend physical training, the PMS established the PMS PT Award. Cadets cannot have any unexcused absences to receive this award.  Recipients are Cadets Cade Davis, Michael Shamblin, Breanna James and Layla Theriot.

Cadet Breanna James took the Oath of Enlistment during the program, with family and friends. When students first enroll in an ROTC class, they have no military obligation. By choosing to contract, cadets demonstrate not only their physical fitness and academic excellence, but also their desire to serve a higher purpose through the Army.

Hugo Carmignani, an international student from Paris, spent the fall semester at NSU and participated in ROTC.  He not only participated in military science classes, but also labs, physical training, field training and intramural sports.  He was presented with a commemorative coin.

Outstanding service awards recognize those cadets who have contributed additional time and energy to social projects for the university and Demon Battalion.  Cadets honored were Michael Shamblin for service as president of the Black Knights, ROTC’s recognized student organization; Andrew Wesley for service as vice president of the Black Knights; Peyton Bordelon for service as secretary of the Black Knights, and Makenzie Cain for service as treasurer of the Black Knights.

The Intramural Sports Recognition Award is awarded to those who actively participate on ROTC’s intramural teams.  IM team captain Cadet Loren Higginbotham received his award before presenting to team members Cade Davis, football; Michael Shamblin, football; Arianna Astorga, volleyball; Breanna James, volleyball;  Brendan Campbell, football and volleyball; Hugo Marmignani, football and volleyball;  Christian Holmes, football; Jaylon James, football and volleyball; Jekeilin Smith, football, Kennedy Stewart, volleyball; Todd Gladish, football, and Brooklyn Guerra, volleyball.

Many people take for granted the presence of the Colors during ceremonies and memorials. Though often seen as a nameless group, those who make up a Color Guard play a pivotal role in honoring tradition and paying respect to those serving, past and present, in the Armed Forces. This semester, cadets presented the Colors at Convocation, football games, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Cross Country Track Meet, the Southland Conference Soccer Championship and Veteran’s Day programs at NSU Elementary Lab school and downtown Natchitoches. Those who volunteer to serve on the Demon Battalion Color Guard were honored with the Color Guard Award.  They were Color Sergeant, Cadet Caiden Matthews and unit members Breanna James, Makenzie Cain, Brendan Campbell, Emmanuel Fields, Jaylon James, and Todd Gladish.

The Cadet Recruiting Ribbon is awarded to cadets who actively participate in recruiting events, which included more than half the battalion this year.  Recipients were Cadets Michael Shamblin, Arianna Astorga, Peyton Bordelon, Jatwon Burkes, Brooklyn Guerra, Loren Higginbotham, Breanna James, Andrew Wesley, Makenzie Cain, Brendan Campbell, Quintavia Johnson, Caiden Matthews, Todd Gladish, Layla Theriot, Lawson Turner and Jeremy Wade.

Ranger Challenge is a U.S. Army Cadet Command competition designed to challenge cadets’ mental and physical toughness and to develop leadership while fostering teamwork and esprit-de-corps. Teams compete against other colleges throughout the nation in events such as patrolling, marksmanship, weapons assembly, one-rope bridge, grenade assault course, Army Combat Fitness Test and land navigation.  The competition ends with a 10-kilometer road march.

Members of this year’s team are Cadets Taylor Dixon, Jimmy Lara, Michael Shamblin, Peyton Bordelon, Loren Higginbotham, Breanna James, Brendan Campbell, Christian Holmes, Jaylon James, Caiden Matthews, Todd Gladish and Layla Theriot.

Military leadership is defined as the process of influencing others to accomplish the mission by providing purpose, direction and motivation. The Leadership Excellence Award recognizes those cadets who demonstrate leadership ability in the program, across campus, and in civic activities. Recipients are Cadets Andrew Wesley, Caiden Matthews and Brooklyn Guerra.

Thanks to the generosity of ROTC alumni and friends of the Battalion, the battalion awarded $1,500 in scholarships to four cadets. Cadet Jaylon James was recipient of the Teresa Cazales Scholarship, awarded to a cadet who exhibits Army values and core leadership skills. 

Cadet Breanna James was recipient of the Harris Family Scholarship, established by Brett Harris, son of Lieutenant Colonel Walter B. Harris, Jr., NSU PMS 1977-1982.  The recipient must be an MS III or IV who demonstrates Army values and core leader competencies. 

Cadet Jimmy Lara received the Andrea Rene Cespedez “Above the Best” Scholarship, presented to a cade with a high GPA, PT score, Army values and core leader competencies.

Cadet Cade Davis received the James A. Now Memorial Scholarship, presented to a candidate that displays a high degree of leadership potential, a high standard of moral conduct and works to support the program.

Cadet Todd Gladdish, Layla Theriot and Ethan Jones were presented with scholarships offered through the Wise Family Foundation to assist in bridging tuition gaps that may occur before cadet contracting or before the Army’s national scholarship is activated.

Next year’s cadet leadership was announced.  Cadets Cade Davis, Jimmy Lara and Michael Shamblin will stay in their roles of Battalion Commander, Command Sergeant Major and Executive Officer. Cadet Arianna Astorga will be the Administrative Officer, assisted by Cadet Jan Amu-tan. Cadet Loren Higginbotham will be the Recruiting Officer, assisted by Cadet Makenzie Cain. The Operations Officer will be Cadet Breanna James, assisted by Cadet Brendan Campbell. Cadet Jatwon Burkes will be the Logistics Officer, assisted by Cadet Christian Holmes.  Cadet Brooklyn Guerra will continue to serve as the Communications Officer. Cadet Andrew Wesley will be the Company Commander with Cadet Peyton Bordelon serving as the Company First Sergeant. The Command Sergeant Major, Cadet Lara, is the Physical Training Officer.  He will be assisted by Cadet Jaylon James. Cadet Caiden Matthews will remain Color Sergeant.

Seniors were notified of their branch assignments, which were revealed to conclude the awards program.  They are Cade Davis, active duty, Military Intelligence Corps with branch detail to Infantry; Taylor Dixon, active duty, Infantry; Jimmy Lara, active duty, Signal Corps; Michael Shamblin, active duty, Army Aviation and Dylan Trueblood, National Guard, Armor Branch.

Trueblood will graduate Dec. 15 with a Bachelor of General Studies degree with a major concentration in Computer and Natural Science and double minors in Military Leadership and Computer Information Systems. His commissioning ceremony will take place at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15 in the Student Union Ballroom. 

Information on NSU’s Department of Military Science has be found at


Senior Cadets: NSU recognized senior ROTC cadets during the fall awards program.  They are, from left, Cadets Jimmy Lara, Taylor Dixon, Cade Davis, Michael Shamblin and Dylan Trueblood. Banner Ad
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