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UC’s Tribute to Veterans Holds Special Meaning for ROTC Cadet

UC’s Nov. 12 Veterans Ceremony will pay special tribute to veterans who are currently UC students.

Date: 11/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Ashley Kempher and Terry Johnson
UC graduate student Terry Johnson of Hebron, Ky., was a college freshman at Thomas More College when he first wanted to enlist in the Army. He remembers that he was in chemistry class when he received the news that the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York were struck in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. “I wanted to get involved and do something, and I told my mom that I was joining the military. But my mom (a Navy veteran) wanted me to finish my commitment on my degree.”
ROTC Cadet Terry Johnson
ROTC Cadet Terry Johnson

Johnson earned his baccalaureate degree in communications from Thomas More College in August, 2005 and was sworn in to the military that September. Johnson, who’s currently a UC ROTC Army cadet and criminal justice master’s degree candidate, will be among the 150 ROTC Army and Air Force cadets taking part in the university’s annual ceremony to honor the nation’s veterans. The ceremony, open to the public and to the UC community, will take place at 10 a.m., Friday, Nov. 12, on McMicken Commons (inclement weather location is the Great Hall of Tangeman University Center). The 2010 ceremony will pay special tribute to veterans who are currently UC students.

Service in Iraq

Johnson’s service took him on a 15-month tour in and around Baghdad from September 2007 to December 2008, where he served as an interrogator with the 525 Military Intelligence Brigade that was based in Ft. Bragg, N.C. He says the nature of his service provided opportunities to work with multiple branches of the U.S. military as well as with some of the most highly trained interpreters.

It was his military background that led him into his graduate program in criminal justice, and Johnson says he knew there was only one destination where he wanted to pursue his graduate degree. “UC was the only program I applied to,” he says. “It was an easy choice. My parents still lived here, and I still had friends and acquaintances from the area.”

Johnson says he waived his G.I. benefits to pay off his undergraduate college loan but kept his military entitlements from serving as a sergeant in the Army. He was also awarded a University Graduate Scholarship from UC to pursue his master’s degree. When he completes his degree and the ROTC program in March, he’ll be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and will be assigned duties as a field artillery officer.

Johnson and Family

A graduate of Conner High School in Hebron, Ky., Johnson is also a married father of two, with a baby girl due in January. He first met his wife, Elise, when they were juniors in high school, back when he played basketball for Conner High School and she played volleyball for Walton-Verona High School. They’re parents to 6-year-old Zachary and 10-month-old Langston.

On his graduation, Johnson will continue to follow a family tradition of military service. His mother and grandfather are veterans. He adds that he feels his former service as a non-commissioned officer will build on his aspirations to be a good military leader, as he becomes an officer through the ROTC Army program.

As he looks ahead to the UC Veterans Ceremony, Johnson says that the recognition means a great deal to the nation’s veterans. “I have often researched recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, and I’ve looked at the courageous acts of these veterans.

“The quality of the troops that we have today is unprecedented, and having the opportunity to be a leader – and looking back on the leaders who have come before me – it really blows me away,” he says.

“Veterans Day brings out our patriotism and pride for the people who have done great things and have helped make our country what it is today.”

For the second year in a row, G.I. Jobs recognized the University of Cincinnati among 15 percent of the nation’s higher educational institutions for embracing the nation’s veterans as students.

UC Army ROTC

UC Air Force ROTC

UC Veterans Educational Benefits Information