JROTC Battalion Commander wins Legion of Valor Bronze Cross

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Battalion Commander Natalie Romero plans to continue ROTC in college and eventually serve our country in the armed services.

Dinna Pineda
Battalion Commander Natalie Romero plans to continue ROTC in college and eventually serve our country in the armed services.

On September 10th, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Natalie Romero, battalion commander of Bellaire’s JROTC Cadet Battalion, attended the HISD Board Meeting in which she was awarded the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross award, the second highest award in JROTC.

Receiving the award was very surprising for Romero, for she didn’t know what to expect when she arrived at the meeting.

“Actually, I didn’t know I was getting awarded, it was a surprise from the instructors; it was such a good surprise,” Romero said. “Except when I got there, I realized there were only two cadets, and that’s when it all felt fishy.”

The award meant a lot to her, for she finally felt accepted by her family, especially her grandmother who never really understood why she was in ROTC and always thought it was a bad thing because it was “manly.”

“The award was very sentimental to me, it was very precious because my family was there when I received it,” Romero said. “Growing up, my grandmother was always like you’re not doing anything with your life and she’s always hated ROTC, so when I turned around after they handed me the certificate, I saw my grandmother crying and she was like, ‘I’m so proud of you.’ Receiving the award, I finally felt like she’s understanding what I’m doing and supporting me. The award itself was amazing, but getting that extra recognition from my family was even better.”

Being the Battalion Commander, overseeing the whole battalion of 260-270 cadet at Bellaire and making the final decision on what and how they’re going to run things, Romero has one goal in particular that she wants to meet at the end of her senior year.

“I’m anticipating that we get the superintendent award again this year,” Romero said. “The superintendent award says we’re the number one ROTC program in HISD and I’m just hoping that we get this award at the end of the year, because since I’m the BC, if we don’t get the award, it kind of falls on me, like what did you do, you didn’t do a good job running the program.”

After high school, Romero hopes to attend Texas A&M University, where she plans to continue ROTC and eventually serve our country.

“I’m applying to A&M for the core of cadets, which is like another ROTC, but I would be required to do military service afterwards if I take the full ride of four years,” Romero said. “I’m also applying to military academies though. I’m definitely going to do ROTC in college though.”

Natalie advises that everybody should join ROTC because they’re not actually as stern as they look, and that ROTC is the reason why she’s where she is right now, socially and academically.

“I love ROTC,” Romero said. “I love everything that has come with my position, even when I was at the bottom as a cadet. ROTC isn’t like a military program where they’re going to scream at you and stuff, but when you do get in trouble, they’re just trying to look out for the better. And if we didn’t have the instructors we have right now, I would not have gotten the award, I would not be the battalion commander, I would not be good in school, and I would not be well rounded.”

Having both her parents been in the ROTC at Lee High school, Natalie is determined to carry out the same pride in her family. She looks forward to having a successful term in JROTC this year.

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