William Landrum of Hattiesburg is earning his stripes as a soldier in the Mississippi Army National Guard and cadet in The University of Southern Mississippi’s U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC).
A sophomore criminal justice major at Southern Miss, Landrum was recently named the State Guard’s Soldier of the Year after besting fellow soldiers in a series of exercises, both physical and mental, to earn the title. The achievement earned him the right to move on to regional competition.
The competition, held Feb. 24-28, included a physical fitness test, a six-mile ruck march, land navigation written test, written essay, land navigation, call for fire, shoot don’t shoot, stress shoot, qualification, warrior tasks, first aid, soldier’s creed and a board meeting.
Landrum said the competition was fierce, but at the awards banquet on the final day he was “overwhelmed with joy” when he was recognized as the best among his peers.
“I feel so honored to represent Mississippi in the regional competition,” he said. “I thanked all the competitors and told them that they all worked just as hard and deserved first place just as much as I did.
“I give all the credit to God for this opportunity, because without him all of this would be for nothing.”
Regional competition, held at Camp Blanding, Fla. includes many of the same exercises Landrum participated in at the state level. The winner will advance to the next round to compete for the title of National Soldier of the Year.
“The Golden Eagle (ROTC) Battalion, cadre and cadets are very proud of Cadet Landrum's accomplishments during the competition,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Worley, professor of military science at Southern Miss. “He represented his Guard unit, our Battalion and USM every well. As a sophomore, I look forward to more semesters of watching Cadet Landrum grow and mature as a student and cadet here at the university.”
For information about the Army ROTC program at Southern Miss, visit http://www.usm.edu/army-rotc.