Texas A&M University-Kingsville Two ROTC alumni inducted into first Cadet Hall of Fame
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Two ROTC alumni inducted into first Cadet Hall of Fame

Posted on Friday, October 21, 2016

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 and Sanchez will be honored with a special event Saturday, Oct. 29, and again during the football game that night against Eastern New Mexico State. 

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. 

About Col (Ret.) Edward J. Preston Jr. 

  • 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. 
  • His assignments throughout his military career include: 
  •  Maintenance Platoon Leader, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC.
  • Aircraft Maintenance Platoon Leader, 421st Medical Company (air ambulance), Federal Republic of Germany.
  • DUSTOFF pilot in the Republic of Vietnam.
  • Operations Officer to the Brooke Army Medical Center Flight Detachment.
  • Commander, 57th Medical Detachment (air ambulance) Republic of Vietnam in 1969. 
  • Executive Officer and Commander to the U.S. Army Health Services Command Flight Detachment
  • Chief, Doctrine Review Branch, Academy of Health Sciences, U.S. Army.
  • Executive Officer and Commander to the U.S. Army Health Services Command Flight Detachment
  • Commander, 377th Medical Company (air ambulance) 8th U.S. Army, Korea 
  • Instructor, Command and Staff, Military Science Division, Academy of Health Sciences.
  • Commander, 329th Medical Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (air assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky
  • Liaison Officer, German General Staff with duty in Germany
  • Chief, Concepts Division, Combat Developments, Fort Sam Houston 
  • He served with the Readiness Group, 5th U.S. Army until his retirement in 1993. 
  • Preston has earned numerous recognitions and awards including, 
  • Legion of Merit,
  • Distinguished Flying Cross,
  • Bronze Star Medal,
  • four awards for Meritorious Service Medals,
  • 38 awards of the Air Medal with three having the “V” device,
  • Army Commendation Medal, numerous other awards and foreign decorations,
  • Master Army Aviator Badge,
  • Combat Infantry Badge,
  • Combat Medical Badge. 
  • Preston remains active in the university’s Javelina Alumni Association, the President’s Circle and is a donor in several areas of the university and a supporter of Javelina athletics. 

About LTG (Ret.) Ricardo Sanchez 

  • 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. 
  • He retired from the U.S. Army in November 2006 after 33 years of service.  His assignments included tours in the United States, Korea, Panama, Germany, Kosovo and the Middle East. He served as a tank battalion commander during Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Upon promotion to Brigadier General, he served as the Director of Operations and as Director of Strategy, Policy and Plans for U.S. Southern Command, which has responsibility for all U.S. military operations in the Western Hemisphere. 
  • In Kosovo, he led all military operations and the integration of interagency operations in the U.S. sector from December 1999 to June 2000. From June 2000 to June 2001, he was the Director of Operations, U.S. Army Europe before he assumed command of the 1st Armored Division. 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 Sadaam Hussein regime. He commanded the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq until July 2004. 
  • At retirement, Sanchez was the longest serving V Corps commander and the highest ranking Hispanic officer in the U.S. Army. 
  • After retiring from the U.S. Army, Sanchez provided independent security consulting services to international entities in Africa, Central America, Mexico, Europe and the United States. Since May 2011, Sanchez has been the Chief Executive Officer of Operational Technologies Corporation (OpTech).  In October 2012, Sanchez assumed the role of CEO for Optech Enterprise Solutions (OES), a Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) providing supply chain management, logistics and business process outsourcing (BPO) solutions for government and commercial clients in the high tech and energy sectors. 
  • Sanchez was appointed as chair of the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Foundation, Inc. Board of Trustees. In 2003, Sanchez was selected by the Javelina Alumni Association as one of Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Distinguished Alumni. 
  • The general’s awards and badges include,
  •  Defense Distinguished Service Medal,
  • Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster,
  • Defense Superior Service Medal,
  • Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters,
  • Bronze Star Medal with “V” device and oak leaf cluster,
  • Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters,
  • Joint Service Commendation Medal,
  • Army Commendation Medal,
  • Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster,
  • National Defense Service Medal with two service stars,
  • Southwest Asia Campaign Medal,
  • Liberation of Kuwait Medals (Saudi Arabia and Kuwait),
  • NATO medal,
  • Master Parachutist Badge.

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