Two Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets at UNG have ranked in the top five out of 5,560 cadets in the 2017-18 U.S. Army Cadet Command Order of Merit List (OML). Cadet 1st Lt. Andrew Gomez of Cumming, Georgia, is ranked second in the nation and Cadet Lt. Col. Bryton Wenzel of Albany, Georgia, is ranked fifth.
Cadets are ranked on the OML by achieving superior grade point averages, strong performance in the Army physical fitness test, proving their worth as exceptional leaders in their college ROTC training, and their performance at Advanced Camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky. With more than 5,000 cadets from across the nation ranked on this year’s OML, it is extraordinary that two cadets from the same university are ranked among the top five nationally.
“One of only six senior military colleges in the country, UNG has a long-standing national reputation for excellence and has produced more than 50 general officers since its founding,” UNG President Bonita Jacobs said. “I am proud that our legacy continues to grow and that this year we have two cadets who placed among the top five in the nation.”
This is the third time in four years that UNG cadets placed in the top 10 in the nation; Jonathan Strickland of Gainesville, Georgia, was the No. 1 cadet in 2014 and Eric Gleason of Marietta, Georgia, was ranked eighth in 2015.
Each fall, in conjunction with their branch selections, all Army ROTC senior cadets from around the country are ranked in a national OML. A cadet’s positioning on the OML can determine his or her priority in being chosen for the branch or occupational specialty of choice; cadets who are ranked highly on the list typically are given their first choice.
Col. Brent Cummings
professor of military science at UNG
“These two young men represent the very best of UNG and our Corps of Cadets and we are very proud of their accomplishment,” said Col. Brent Cummings, professor of military science at UNG. “Our cadets are achieving tremendous results, and I’m very grateful for the support of this great institution and our alumni as we train the future leadership of our Army.”
Gomez majored in computer science and commissioned into the U.S. Army’s Cyber Corps; he is the son of Audrey and Albeiro Gomez.
“All the hard work of others who helped out to get me here has really paid off,” Gomez said. “Honestly, it’s just all the great leaders who are here who have developed others to be better leaders. One of the biggest things I love about the University of North Georgia is that everyone is just trying to help each other.”
Wenzel majored in nursing and commissioned into the Corps of Engineers in the Georgia National Guard; he is the son of Tina and Jeff Coalson.
“I just reflect on all the hard work that I’ve done and I thank all of those other people who have helped me along the way,” Wenzel said.