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New leaders take command of NMSU ROTC units

New Mexico State University’s Army and Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps have two new commanders – one brand new to NMSU and another who has been serving at the university for three years.

Man and woman standing side by side
Lt. Col. George Wes Childs III, NMSU Army ROTC commander and Lt. Col. Wendy Woodard, NMSU Air Force ROTC commander. (NMSU photo by Andres Leighton)

Lt. Col. Wendy Woodard is taking the reins of the Air Force ROTC, Detachment 505 Pistoleros. Before coming to NMSU, she was at Joint Base San Antonio- Randolph, where she was an instructor pilot.

She replaces Lt. Col. Jeremy Klomp, who announced his retirement. As an instructor, Woodard became a reservist but transitioned back into active duty in order to take her position as head of aerospace studies at NMSU, which she called a great opportunity.

“I went to pilot training, then I flew B-52s in Louisiana and KC-10s in New Jersey,” Woodard said. “I flew a lot over Afghanistan at that time and after that I went back to the Academy as an officer and instructor in their Soaring Program for eight years.”

Lt. Col. Wes Childs now heads the Army ROTC’s Bataan Battalion at NMSU after serving since 2015 as executive officer for former commander Lt. Col. Blanca Reyes, who recently was named this year’s Professor of Military Science for U.S. Army Cadet Command. Reyes was transferred to San Antonio to become the Brigade Executive Officer at 5th Brigade Senior Army ROTC.

Child’s was stationed in Afghanistan before coming to NMSU.

“I joined the Army right out of high school in 1994 and was enlisted for three years before going into the academy,” Childs said. “I graduated in 2001 and then became a logistician, oversaw maintenance and convoy operations and transportation.”

As new commanders for their units, both have identified challenges ahead of them.

“One is recruiting,” Woodard said. “We need to make sure the student body knows we exist and all the opportunities available to them through the ROTC.”

In addition to growing the programs, Childs also wants NMSU professors to know the benefits ROTC brings to the academic environment.

“We want to build relationships with the NMSU community and the Las Cruces community,” he said.

NMSU ROTC is located in Young Hall. Students who are interested may contact Army at armyrotc@nmsu.edu or 575-646-4030 and the Air Force at afdet505@nmsu.edu or 575-646-2136.