WMU’s ROTC cadets excel in state, region and nation during capstone training exercises

Contact: Deanne Puca

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University’s ROTC program was named top in the lower peninsula, third in the Midwest and 17th in the country for the cadets’ performance during one of the largest training events for the U.S. Army.

Fifteen cadets in Western's Bronco Battalion received outstanding or excellent marks for the annual ROTC Cadet Summer Training (CST), a 30-day camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky, where thousands of cadets become one step closer to commissioning. Each year, more than 5,000 cadets are evaluated on physical challenges and leadership acumen at the training camp. Cadets receive an overall rating of either Outstanding, Excellent, Proficient, Capable or Unsatisfactory.

This year, 16 cadets from the Bronco Battalion completed Advance Camp and 15, or 94%, received either an Outstanding or Excellent rating—the highest percentage out of any school in the lower peninsula of Michigan. Bronco Battalion cadets also ranked third in the Seventh Brigade of U.S. Army Cadet Command, which consists of 38 ROTC programs in the Midwest, and 17th in the nation compared to 274 other Army ROTC programs.

The primary instructors responsible for training this group are Master Sergeant Brad Thieroff and Sergeant First Class Norman Eubanks.

"There is no better feeling as a leader than witnessing the results of your hard work and dedication,” says Eubanks. “In my nearly 19 years in the Army, this was one of my proudest moments as a non-commissioned officer. It was a pleasure to work together with MSG Thieroff to develop these young future leaders. Together we thought outside of the box and utilized new methods to facilitate lessons for a deeper level of understanding. I am immensely proud of the hard work and dedication of the outstanding cadets."

"Western’s ROTC program prepared me very well for the training,” says Cadet Matthew Schneck, adding he was proud that “due to the hard work of my fellow Western cadets, WMU was the top performing school in (lower) Michigan." 

Training events included the gas chamber, rappelling down a wall, obstacle course and marksmanship, adds Cadet Carly Ness.

“Through all of this, CST taught me what my leadership style is while in garrison and the field,” says Ness. “I am so very proud of my fellow peers for being successful, therefore earning the Western ROTC program the rank of No. 1 school in (lower) Michigan because of our combined accomplishments."

The top team

Ranked Excellent

  • Dylan Aubrey from Grand Valley State University
  • Lyra Boyce of Ann Arbor, Michigan, University studies
  • Cyle Dyer of Parchment, Michigan, finance
  • Daniel Eschbach of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, personal financial planning
  • Tristan Iwema from Calvin College
  • Kyra Jones of Battle Creek, Michigan, criminal justice studies
  • Colin McNees of Portage, Michigan, history
  • Samuel Oja of Calumet, Michigan, aerospace engineering
  • Nicholas Pearson of Grand Rapids, Michigan, global and international studies

Ranked Outstanding

  • David King of Rhinelander, Wisconsin, University studies
  • Jose Lopez of Alton, Texas, aviation management operations
  • Carly Ness of Pontiac, Michigan, aviation flight science
  • Shaman Satpathy of Portage, Michigan, healthcare service and sciences
  • Matthew Schneck of Naperville, Illinois, political science
  • Logan Tolan of Middleville, Michigan, psychology


Army ROTC is an elective curriculum you take along with your required college classes. It gives you the tools, training and experiences that will help you succeed in any competitive environment. Along with great leadership training, Army ROTC can pay for your college tuition. Because Army ROTC is an elective, you can participate during your first and sophomore years without any obligation to join the U.S. Army. You will have a regular college student experience like everyone else on campus. If you continue with ROTC your junior and senior years, you will be commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army when you graduate.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.