The U.S. Department of the Army recently selected Lt. Col. David P. McCoy to head up New Mexico State University's Army ROTC program. The new commander will serve a three-year tour and oversee more than 75 cadets, faculty and staff.
"It's an awesome responsibility, I can think of nothing more important than taking a student who maybe knows nothing about the military, and guiding them through this process, and at the end of it, we pin bars on their shoulders," said Lt. Col. McCoy, professor of military science in the College of Arts and Sciences.
As the top mentor, McCoy's duty will be to train and prepare cadets for commissioning as second lieutenants in the United States Army. He also will use his experience to guide senior class cadets in a weekly leadership course that he'll teach.
"I want to teach them, this is how you want to be as a lieutenant," McCoy said. "This is how your mind set needs to change. I want to mold them during that year, getting them out of cadet mode and moving them into Army officer mode."
Additionally, McCoy will oversee the area Jr. ROTC programs and mentor New Mexico Military Institute completion students who are completing their undergraduate degrees at NMSU.
McCoy, an information technology and air defense officer, is no stranger to the area. He was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, on four separate occasions during his career. Most recently, he served there as the secretary of the general staff for the 32d Army Air and Missile Defense Command.
"I met my wife there and I bought a home there," McCoy said. "I'm glad to remain in the area where I can contribute locally."
Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Defense Artillery in 1996, he has worked in several leadership positions including platoon leader and battery commander, before rising to the level of battalion executive officer.
He is a veteran of Southeast Asia, serving in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.
McCoy earned a bachelor's in computer science from Mercer University, Georgia, and a master's in information technology from the University of Maryland, University College. He is married to Araceli Lagos-Blanco, a native of Chihuahua City, Mexico, and they have been married for 14 years.
McCoy replaces Lt. Col. Andrew Taylor who retired July 31, after more than 20 years of active duty service.
"This is one of the greatest responsibilities I've had since I've been in the military, and I want to tell these cadets that they can do this," McCoy said. "You can start from knowing nothing about the military and be a success for as long as you want."