Two former members of the Javelina Battalion at Texas A&M University-Kingsville have been honored to be in the first group of former ROTC Cadets inducted into its Hall of Fame.
Col. (Ret.) Edward J. Preston Jr. and LTG (Ret.) Ricardo Sanchez were two of 326 former cadets recognized for their service to the country on the 100th anniversary of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
This year, the Javelina Battalion is celebrating its own 65th anniversary as it was started at the university in 1951.
Preston is a veteran of more than 39 years of active duty. After his enlisted service in the U.S. Army from 1951-1959, he completed his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&I University and was commissioned from Javelina Battalion as a second lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps in 1962.
Sanchez graduated from Texas A&I University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and history and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California with a master’s degree in Operations Research Systems Analysis Engineering.
In March 2003, he deployed the Division to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom with initial responsibility to secure the city of Baghdad. In June 2003 he assumed command of V Corps and Combined Joint Task Force 7, and was responsible for all international coalition operations in Iraq after the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime. He commanded the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq until July 2004.
The Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), as it exists today, began with President Wilson signing the National Defense Act of 1916. Although military training had been taking place in civilian colleges and universities as early as 1819, the signing of the National Defense Act brought this training under a single, federally-controlled entity: The Reserve Officers' Training Corps. Army ROTC is the largest officer-producing organization with the American military, having commissioned more than half a million second lieutenants since its inception.