Thursday, December 1, 2022

Cumbola Man Earns Distinguished Military Status through University of Scranton's ROTC

A Schuylkill County man has earned distinguished military status through the University of Scranton's ROTC.

Zachary J. Turnitza of Cumbola was among the six members of The University of Scranton's ROTC class of 2023 who earned Distinguished Military Graduate status by the U.S. Army, which designates placement in the top 20 percent of Army ROTC graduates in the nation for this academic year. Their distinction is based on their placement in the Order of Merit List, which ranks graduating ROTC cadets from across the country. The designation requires a superior grade-point average, strong performance in the Army Combat Fitness Test, and proven experience as an exceptional leader in college ROTC training.

Turnitza is a nursing major at Scranton.

"These cadets represent the next generation of our military leaders. They are ambitious, talented, intelligent and enthusiastic. The future of the U.S. Army is in good hands," said Lt. Col. Jason Wenger, professor of military science who heads Scranton's Army ROTC battalion. "Scranton's ROTC program continually places in the top 25 percent in the country because of cadets like these."

Together, the group of six Distinguished Military Graduates at Scranton know nine languages, including Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and Russian. They have won military awards and participated in ROTC enrichment programs, in addition to maintaining stellar G.P.As in their academic courses at Scranton. The group of six have had a total of 16 military internships.

Through these internships, the students not only gained experience in different aspects of military service and enhanced their leadership skills, but they also gained experience in their chosen professions.

Nursing major Turnitza gained clinical experiences in military hospital environments that are not common in traditional rotations. "The ROTC program has developed my communication skills, not only in public speaking or in leading a group of cadets, but also with the more difficult conversations I will have to have with patients as a nurse," said Turnitza.

A Dean's List student at Scranton, Turnitza received the 2020 Frank O'Hara Award for highest GPA in Panuska College of Professional Studies.

Turnitza has participated in several ROTC Enrichment Programs, including Nurse Summer Training Program at Tripler Army Medical Center Hawaii; Air Assault School in Fort Benning, Georgia; and has a senior position in the ROTC program: Cadet Battalion Commander.

Turnitza has received several awards, including PT Fitness Military Science Level II and III Male Cadet in Battalion (Iron Man Award) and The Military Order of the World Wars (ROTC Award of Merit).

In addition, Turnitza (with Cadet Gasperini) became the first cadets to score a 600 of 600 (max. score) on the Army Combat Fitness Test in our Battalion.

The University of Scranton is a Jesuit university located in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

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