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NMSU Army ROTC supply tech wins top award for service

Each time you feel the blast of a cannon during a New Mexico State University football game, one thing is certain -- the home team just scored. What you may not know is that NMSU Army ROTC supply technician Jose Vargas helps to ensure that cannon fires properly. Vargas was recently recognized as the 2012 Supply Technician of the Year from the U.S. Army Cadet Command.

NMSU Army ROTC supply technician Jose Vargas was awarded the U.S Army Cadet Command Award for Excellence as the 2012 Supply Technician of the Year. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

The command, located in Fort Knox, Ky., recognizes individuals for their contributions to training excellence and their roles in furthering the command's dual missions of preparing the next generation of the Army's leaders as well as a new generation of productive, responsible citizens.

"I'm very honored and very humbled," Vargas said. "I picked logistics because it's behind the scenes. I don't like being out front; I just like helping to make stuff happen, and ensuring that things get done. That's my reward."

Vargas provides logistical support, supplies and resources for NMSU's Bataan Battalion, a unit of more than 100 cadets and nine cadre with more than $100,000 in equipment and supplies. He oversees the property book, manages the battalion's three government vehicles and requests ammunition for the firing range.

"The best thing about my job is the people," Vargas said. "In the Cadet Command we have a mission to commission lieutenants into the Army, and I like that I have a direct part in making that happen."

He also orders the 75-millimeter howitzer blank rounds used in support of the NMSU home games. Every year, Vargas orders 60 to 90 rounds from Ft. Bliss to support all Army ROTC related events such as the Veteran's Day Parade, the 9/11 Memorial Ceremony and the opening ceremony for the Bataan Memorial Death March, started by the NMSU Army ROTC in 1989.

"Jose Vargas is one of those true professionals who genuinely cares about his job," said NMSU Army ROTC Commander Lt. Col. Andrew Taylor. "He is even more impressive as his work often goes unnoticed, and he doesn't care who gets the credit for mission accomplishment."

Additionally, Vargas is a coach for the annual Ranger Challenge, an ROTC varsity sport, and he participates in training during weekly leadership labs and field exercises.

Vargas, who is originally from San Diego, came to the NMSU ROTC as an active duty supply sergeant in January 2001. When the position transitioned to a civilian one, Vargas chose to extend his enlistment for one more year before beginning his new job.

Vargas said he originally joined the army as a way to go to school, and in 2005, he enrolled as a business management major at NMSU. The non-traditional student has found time to take a couple of classes each year, and plans to graduate in May 2013.

"Mr. Vargas clearly deserves this recognition as the 2012 ROTC Supply Technician of the Year," Taylor said. "The Cadets, cadre, ROTC and NMSU are very fortunate to have him in our family."