Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets Theo Vance and Michelle Dobler were among the 33 cadets of UC Santa Barbara’s Surfrider Battalion who were honored at its annual awards ceremony at Mosher Alumni House.
Vance and Dobler, both fourth-year cadets, were selected as ROTC Distinguished Military Graduates. They were ranked in the top 20% of more than 5,000 cadets entering the Army.
“Today we had the opportunity to recognize the outstanding accomplishments and efforts of our Army ROTC Cadets,” said Lt. Col. Travis Buehner, professor of military science. “Our cadets run our ROTC program, which provides them with excellent leadership opportunities. There are many late nights and weekends throughout the year as they balance their academic and ROTC responsibilities. It is a significant time commitment, but they manage all of it extremely well.
“They have accomplished a lot this year,” he continued, “and we are proud of their desire to serve their country and take on the responsibility of leading the men and women of our armed forces. We appreciate our university partners and numerous supporters in the Santa Barbara area who attended the ceremony and remain invested in the future of these young men and women.”
The awards ceremony honored cadets at all levels in the program. Among the notable was the Alex Newsom Leadership Award, presented by the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Museum Foundation to a fourth-year cadet “who has displayed the highest standards of the Surfrider Battalion.” Army Maj. Alex Newsom, a 2005 UC Santa Barbara graduate, and the foundation’s John Blakenship presented the award to Thomas Canchola.
The battalion will commission 10 cadets as 2nd lieutenants in the U.S. Army in a ceremony Friday, June 14, at 2 p.m. at Goleta Beach Park. The event is free and open to the public. Another cadet will be commissioned at the end of September.
The Surfrider Battalion has been a staple on campus since before there was a campus. It was established in 1947 at the Santa Barbara College of the University of California at Santa Barbara, preceding the official founding of the university’s current campus and making it the oldest organization at UCSB.