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Ballard earns ROTC award

Liz O'Donnell | Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cadet Curtis Ballard has been named as one of this year’s recipients of the George C. Marshall Award.

The award, which is a national honor, is given annually to the top cadet from each of the 273 Army ROTC units from throughout the country.

With this honor, Cadet Ballard has been selected as Notre Dame’s participant in the George C. Marshall ROTC Seminar.

A senior from Steamboat Springs, Colo., Ballard has served as Notre Dame’s cadet battalion executive officer this semester.

This position is responsible for coordinating and synchronizing the cadet battalion staff for exercises and events, including a training exercise conducted in Michigan with four other ROTC programs, Lieutenant Colonel Randy Crist, a commander for the Army ROTC program at Notre Dame, said.

“[Ballard’s] ability to form a cohesive team, provide guidance, and supervise these activities was exemplary,” he said.

Crist said the candidates for the award are selected based on a wide array of skills.

“Army ROTC cadets are rated on their academic, physical, and military/leadership skills,” Crist said.

“Cadet Ballard sets himself apart from an extremely accomplished group of peers by seeking out and excelling in the leadership position he is assigned, maintaining over a 3.5 GPA, and habitually scoring the maximum on his physical tests.”

Each year, the top Army ROTC Cadet at Notre Dame is selected to attend the Marshall seminar, which takes place in Lexington, Va.

Crist said Notre Dame cadets are traditionally among the best ROTC candidates in the nation.

“Notre Dame cadets, besides being at one of the top academic schools in the country, are among the highest rated ROTC cadets in the country, consistently graduating the Leadership Development and Assessment Course in the top 15 percent of the country and being ranked as last year’s number one of over 270 programs nationwide on the Army’s physical fitness test,” he said.

Ballard is currently participating in the seminar, which began Tuesday and concludes Thursday.

This year’s seminar is chaired by retired Lt. Gen. Richard Timmons and retired Maj. Gen. Patricia Hickerson.

At the conference, Ballard will have the opportunity to participate in roundtable discussions on issues that are pertinent to current national security.

This opportunity is something that Crist said he believes will be an excellent experience for Ballard.

“As one of the top cadets in the country, Cadet Ballard will contribute significantly to these important topics and share his ideas with other cadets and the cadre when he returns,” he said.

Ballard will receive his commission on May 16th. He will graduate with honors with a degree in Arabic this May.

“For Cadet Ballard to stand so high among the best is a credit to himself, the University of Notre Dame, the US Army, and our country,” Crist said.