SRU Army ROTC cadet ranked fourth on national Order of Merit List
Senior cadets from Slippery Rock University’s Army ROTC program recently received their branch assignments, including Logan Thrush, who was ranked fourth in the nation on the Army’s Order of Merit List, which is used to determine the cadets’ order of preference.
Dec. 6, 2019
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Like many U.S. Army ROTC cadets across the country, Logan Thrush knew what was happening: for 10 straight days in November, at precisely 1830 military time -- that's 6:30 p.m. for civilians -- the Cadet Command was conducting a daily countdown on its Instagram page to reveal the Top 10 senior cadets in the nation according to its Order of Merit List.
Thrush, a Slippery Rock University senior homeland security major from Brookville, had his named called, Nov. 19, when the No. 4-ranked cadet was announced. Thrush found out before his Instagram app could even load.
"We were watching every night and I was scrolling and it must've not updated in time because my phone just started to light up (with people calling me)," Thrush said. "It's hard to imagine with so many cadets who are ranked across the country that I was that high on the list. I'm just happy our program gets recognized (and what this honor means) for the people who have helped me throughout my life, especially my family."
More than 5,000 ROTC cadets studying at colleges and universities across the country, regardless of the size of their institution, are ranked among their class based on criteria including GPA, physical training scores and service in leadership positions. Known as the OML, the rankings determine preference given to cadets for their branch duty assignments following graduation and commissioning.
Thrush, who received his branch assignment of active duty, Infantry, was not the only SRU cadet to receive a high rank. Three other cadets were ranked in the top 10% of cadets who preferred active duty. They included Jake Beretta, a senior homeland security major from Harrison City; Pauline Matthew, a senior criminology and criminal justice major from New Cumberland; and Eugene Rodgers, a senior health and physical education major from Mechanicsburg.
A total of eight SRU cadets received National Distinguished Military Graduate recognition, which represents the top 20% of cadets on the OML. They included the four in the top 10%, along with Savannah Anderson, a senior political science major from Kane; Gunner Coleman, a senior exercise science major from Slippery Rock; Nicholas Gouck, a senior political science major from Birdsboro; and Hali Olson, a senior safety management major from Brookville.
"We have a phenomenal group of future leaders," said Lt. Col. Lillian Woodington, professor of military science and head of SRU's ROTC program. "What really inspires me about them is how they come together as a team. Even though they are unique individuals, they balance their strengths and weaknesses to function as I would expect lieutenants in the Army to function. They even work above and beyond what I've seen in the Army. I'm confident they will excel and be amazing leaders."
Woodington, who arrived at SRU earlier this year, and Capt. Adam Readout, assistant professor of military science, point to Thrush's leadership and selflessness.
"What makes him so special, and from what I noticed from coming on board this fall, is how Logan values the team," Woodington said. "Nothing is about him. He never says 'I' or 'me;' it's always 'we,' 'us' and 'our.' As a leader, he is going to go really far, not just in the military but in life as a civil servant and as someone who is going to lead our nation into the future."
"(Logan's) a forward-thinker by bringing us not only problems but solutions to those problems," Readout said. "He a great motivator for the underclassmen, which will continue when he's going to be in charge of soldiers in his unit, and anywhere he goes he'll be looked up to."
Thrush helped lead SRU's Frontier Battalion, which includes cadets from Clarion University, to a third-place finish at a recent Ranger Challenge at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, where cadets representing 46 teams from nine states competed in events related to military skills on a non-tactical course.
Among Thrush's accomplishments and experiences are attending a Cultural Understanding & Leadership Program in Morocco and Cadet Troop Leader Training in Fort Bliss, Texas. Although his high OML ranking is attributed to personal feats, like GPA and results on the Army Physical Fitness Test, he is more satisfied with points he earned for his leadership abilities which were awarded on recommendations from his cadre.
"Just knowing my peers respected me (is most important to me)," Thrush said. "Leading your peers is the hardest thing to do because everyone is equal. Regardless if you are freshman or a senior, you're still a cadet trying to become an officer. Inspiring people is what I like to do most and leading people rather than micromanaging them."
"Logan stands out because of his leadership, his composure and how he carries himself," Woodington said. "On their first day, (underclassmen) know he's someone they want to emulate."
After graduation in May, Thrush will attend a 17-week Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course in Fort Benning, Georgia, before receiving further active-duty assignments.
Two of the senior SRU cadets -- Anderson and Matthew Montanaro, a senior homeland security major from Coraopolis -- will be graduating at 11 a.m., Dec. 14, at SRU's Winter Commencement ceremony at the Morrow Field House, and will first be commissioned as second lieutenants at 5 p.m., Dec. 13, at a private ceremony at the Russell Wright Alumni House.
The following are the branch assignment statuses for all 17 SRU senior cadets:
• Alexis Adams, a senior exercise science major from Genesee, assigned to U.S. Army Reserves, Medical.
• Anderson, assigned to active duty, Military Police.
• Beretta, assigned to active duty, Military Intelligence.
• Dylan Colcombe, a senior health and physical education major from Irwin, assigned to active duty, Chemical Corps.
• Coleman, unassigned with education delay (physical therapy).
• David Dimun, a senior homeland security major from Butler, assigned to active duty, infantry.
• Christopher Fuller, a senior communication major from Washington, assigned to National Guard, Quartermaster.
• Gouck, assigned to active duty, Aviation.
• Tyler Kullmann, a senior criminology and criminal justice major from Elizabethtown, assigned to National Guard, Military Police.
• Matthew, assigned to active duty, Military Police.
• Montanaro, assigned to active duty, Chemical Corps.
• Mitchell Nelson, a senior safety management major from Corry, assigned to active duty, Quartermaster.
• Olson, assigned to active duty, Engineer.
• Rodgers, assigned to active duty, Infantry.
• Andrew Shahan, a senior criminology and criminal justice major from Mantua, Ohio, assigned to active duty, Military Police.
• Ryan Silver, a senior homeland security major from Blue Point, New York, assigned to active duty, Quartermaster.
• Thrush, assigned to active duty, Infantry.
For more information about the Army ROTC program at SRU, click here.
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