WMU News

Katie Pinter is tops among WMU cadets

April 19, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- A senior ROTC cadet who aims to one day fly Black Hawk helicopters recently received the George C. Marshall Award from Western Michigan University.

Kathryn Pinter is the 2002 recipient of the national leadership award, which honors the top cadet at each Army ROTC battalion in the nation. Criteria include professional excellence, leadership, personal integrity and selfless service to the nation. The award is named for Army General George C. Marshall, former U.S. Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense and the only career soldier ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Pinter visited the Virginia Military Institute this week to receive the award. President George W. Bush's April 17 speech to the cadets received nationwide attention and was covered on cable networks such as CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, and on the front pages of the New York Times and Washington Post.

"Katie is a consummate leader," says Maj. Timothy J. Russell, scholarship and enrollment officer for WMU's ROTC program. "She's one of the finest young cadets I've worked with at Western Michigan. She exudes a confident, positive attitude whenever the chips are down, and she really knows how to bring people back up and keep their heads in the game."

Pinter, the daughter of John and Ruth Pinter of Litchfield, Mich., is a senior majoring in secondary education with an emphasis on mathematics and a member of the Lee Honors College. She is commander of the ROTC Bronco Battalion and a member of the Western Ranger Organization, an elite, hand-chosen group of WMU cadets that undertakes additional physical and leadership training.

Already a platoon leader in the National Guard, Pinter hopes to move to active duty in the Army when she graduates next year. She wants to learn to pilot Black Hawk helicopters so she can fly medical evacuation missions--about as close as most women get to combat today, she notes. Her brother recently graduated from West Point, and although Pinter was accepted to the famed military academy as well, she's glad she chose WMU instead.

"I wanted more of the traditional college experience," says Pinter, who began her college career as an aviation major. "When I was a freshman, I signed up for an outdoor survival skills class, not realizing it was affiliated with ROTC. I thought I was just going to learn to build fires and put up a tents, so I was pretty surprised when they handed me a uniform. It turned out that I really liked it, and when it was over I felt like there was something missing in my life. It sounds cliché, but I felt like I really needed to serve my country. So I came back to ROTC and committed to the National Guard my sophomore year. It's been an absolutely wonderful experience."

Part of the Haworth College of Business, WMU's Military Science Program is an elective academic minor through which students can qualify for the Reserve Officers Training Corps. The program stresses leadership and military skills training that prepares students for commissions as second lieutenants in the active Army, Army Reserves or Army National Guard after they complete their baccalaureate degrees. ROTC programs train 70 percent of the officers in today's Army, some 13 percent of which are women.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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