Queens ROTC Students Rank Among the Top in the Nation

Lieutenant Colonel Eric Feteke hopes to continue the trend

LTC Eric Feteke says he wants the school to acknowledge his cadets as part of the St. John’s University community.


LTC Eric Feteke says he wants the school to acknowledge his cadets as part of the St. John’s University community.

Alexis Gaskin, Staff Writer

St. John’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program is one to watch this year, according to Lieutenant Colonel Eric Feteke.

The Red Storm Battalion on the Queen’s campus has led over 700 officers to the United States Army. Currently, there are 72 cadets in the program and among them, six have been recognized as Distinguished Military Graduates.

Every year, students who are ranked in the top 20 percent of Army ROTC graduates nationwide are recognized for this distinguished status. Cadets are rated on a 100 point scale based on academics, physical and leadership criteria.

Of the more than 5,500 cadets ranked in the top 20 percent, six from St. John’s are part of the Red Storm Battalion. Three are included in the top 10 percent and one participant is ranked seventh out of all students nationwide.

Under the guidance of LTC Feteke, the Professor of Military Science is very excited for this group.

“We’ve got a large group of special talent this year,” Feteke said. He is currently in his second year at St. John’s with the Red Storm Battalion, having previously worked at Fordham University.

“I’ve never seen that many distinguished students in one program,” he said about the students at St. John’s.

He went on to explain how this achievement is the result of all the cadets and their hard work.

“In my three years that I’ve been in ROTC, I’ve never seen anything like that come out of Fordham’s program or here,” Feteke said.

The distinguished students are CDT Nick Vanslyke, Jacob Dibble, Jordin Morin, Marissa Fenn, Maria Asencio-Vargas and Tyshay McPhatter.

In the top 20 percent are cadets Fenn, Asencio-Vargas and McPhatter; with Vanslyke, Dibble, and Morin being in the top 10 percent.

CDT Vanslyke is ranked number seven in the nation on the order of merit.

All six students are graduating seniors and are contracted per their ROTC agreement to enlist. The ROTC program is open for anyone to join. In a student’s freshmen and sophomore year, they are not contracted to serve, but during the junior and senior years, eligibility to become contracted arises.

Of the six students, five will be serving in active duty while one will be in the Army Reserve.

CDT McPhatter is the only one who will not be serving on active duty, as he will be in the Cyber sector of the Army Reserve. The remaining five will be in active duty but with different placements.

CDT Vanslyke will be in the Infantry, CDT Dibble in the military police with a branch detailed to Field Artillery, CDT Morin in Cyber, CDT Fenn as a Quartermaster and CDT Asencio-Vargas in Armor.

The students, along with other students who complete the ROTC program, will automatically be at officer level when they enter service since they have already been trained through their undergraduate years.

This honor sets them apart from those who enlist with just a high school diploma or equivalent.

Feteke discussed that he, along with staff Master Sergeant Jonathan Alexander and Sergeant Chris Lumpiesz, hope to have more of a presence on the St. John’s campus instead of being seen as separate.

“I know that we see the students who pass us on the great lawn doing workouts,” he said, “But we want to have more of a presence on campus.”

With hopes to expand the program to the Staten Island campus and other campuses in the area, Feteke sees a bright future for the ROTC program especially one that has distinguished members and national recognition.