Rattler Battalion Cadre

Major John W. Lankford, Professor of Military Science

210-436-3415, ext. 1500
jlankford3@stmarytx.edu

image of lankfordMajor Lankford assumed position as the Professor of Military Science at St. Mary’s University in May 2015. After enlisting in the Army in 1990, Lankford completed basic combat training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and advanced individual training at Fort Eustis, Virginia. He received his commission through the Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 2002 and is a graduate of Austin Peay State University (B.S.) and the University of Kansas (M.S.).

Commissioned into the Quartermaster Corps, Lankford has held a variety of duty positions from the tactical to strategic levels to include: Supply Support Activity Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, Battalion Maintenance Officer, Company Commander, Battalion Operations Officer, Test Support Officer, Aide-de-camp, Supply and Services Chief, Support Operations Officer and Battalion Executive Officer.

His military schooling includes: Cadre Faculty Development Course (University of Louisville), Command and General Staff College, Combined Logistics Captain Career Course, Quartermaster Officer Basic Course, Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course, Primary Leadership Development Course, Air Assault School and the Airborne School.

Lankford has served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom and his assignments included: Alpha Company, 526th Forward Support Battalion, Fort Campbell, Kentucky; 15th Sustainment Brigade, 1st Cavalry, Fort Hood; Alpha Company, 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, Fort Hood; Operational Test Command, Fort Hood; United States Forces – Afghanistan, Kabul, Afghanistan; 8th Theater Sustainment Command, Fort Shafter, Hawaii; 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and 45th Sustainment Brigade, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

His awards include: Bronze Star Medal (Three Oak Leaf Clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (One Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Commendation Medal (Two Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Achievement Medal (Two Oak Leaf Clusters), National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Development Ribbon (Numeral Two), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon (Sixth Award), NATO Medal (International Security Assistance Force), Army Superior Unit Award, German Armed Forces Efficiency Badge, Air Assault Badge and the Parachutist Badge. He is also a recipient of the Honorable Order of Saint Martin.

Lankford is married to the former Sharron Wilson and they reside in San Antonio with their two Labradors retrievers, Chase and Trooper.


Captain Leonard Contreras, Assistant Professor of Military Science (APMS)/MSII Instructor

image of ContrerasCaptain Contreras is from San Antonio and attended the University of the Incarnate Word. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2006, he went on to pursue a Master of Arts degree in Biology, graduating in 2009. During this time he was a member of the St. Mary’s ROTC program, where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Ordnance Corps.

His first duty assignment was in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where he served in the Service Company with the 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery. From 2010 to 2012, Contreras served as a Maintenance Platoon Leader and Executive Officer in the Service Company on Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Kaiserslautern, Germany.

From 2012 to 2013, Contreras served as the 11th and 13th Missile Defense Detachments Commander (Rear), headquartered out of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was responsible for missile defense operations across three countries while simultaneously coordinating with the Rheinlandphalz Department of Emergency Services to augment the Military Police Force. His awards include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal and Overseas Service Ribbon. He has attended the Anti- Terrorism Force Protection Course, the Airlift Planners Course, CBRN Defense Course, Ordnance Officer Basic Course, the Combined Logistics Captains Career Course, and maintains Combatives Level I certification. He has completed the Cadre Faculty Development Course and is currently completing his M.A. in Higher Education from the University of Louisville.

Contreras serves as an Assistant Professor of Military Science responsible for training and educating the MS III class. He also maintains oversight of Special Projects within the detachment and is a primary Cadre advisor for Rattler Battalion operations.


Sergeant First Class Troy Jensen, Military Science Instructor/Training NCOIC

360-742-9640, ext. 1513
tjensen4@stmarytx.edu

Image of JensenSergeant First Class Troy Andrew Jensen was born in Las Vegas and graduated from Bonanza High School. He enlisted in the Army in August 1999 and completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he was awarded the 11 BravoMOS.

Jensen has held a variety of duty positions to include Rifleman, Grenadier, Automatic Rifleman, Fire Team Leader, Squad Leader, Senior Drill Sergeant, Battalion Assistant Operations Sergeant and Platoon Sergeant.

His civilian and military schooling includes AA in Construction Technology, Warrior Leader’s Course, Advanced Leader’s Course, Senior Leaders Course, Drill Sergeant School, Air Assault School and Combat Life Saver.

His awards and decorations include: Bronze Star Medal (One Oak Leaf Cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (One Oak Leaf Cluster) Army Commendation Medal (Two Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Achievement Medal (Two Oak Leaf Clusters) National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Multinational Force and Observer Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Development Ribbon (Numeral Three), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (Fourth Award), NATO Medal, Air Assault Badge, Drill Sergeant Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge and Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

Jensen’s assignments include 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry (Gimlet), Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry (Bobcats), Fort Lewis, Washington; 2nd Battalion, 58th Infantry, Fort Benning, Georgia; 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Command Group (Heron), Joint Base Lewis McCord (JBLM), Washington; and 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry (Regulars), JBLM, Washington. He deployed in support of the Multinational Force and Observer mission in Sinai, Egypt, in 2001, Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 and 2009, and Operation Enduring Freedom in 2011.

He serves as the Military Science Instructor at St. Mary’s University and is responsible for the training and education of MS Is. He also maintains Cadre oversight of Rattler Battalion operations and is integral in planning, coordinating and resourcing Cadet and Cadre training.

He is married to Sarah and they reside in San Antonio with their five children Colby, Zoey, Piper, Tristan and Eli.


Master Sergeant Willie A. Vines, Senior Military Instructor

210-436-3415
wvines@stmarytx.edu

image of VinesMaster Sergeant Willie A. Vines Jr., a native of Dallas, enlisted in the Army in 1988 as a field artillery soldier.

His assignments include First Sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery; 210th Field Artillery; First Sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1-3/8 Field Artillery; First Sergeant, 67th Forward Support Company; Equal Opportunity Advisor, 120th Infantry Division West and 3rd Heavy Combat Brigade, Fort Hood; Platoon Sergeant 2-82 Field Artillery, Fort Hood; Section Chief, 1-7 Field Artillery, Schweinfurt, Germany; Ammo Team Chief, 5-41 Field Artillery, Fort Stewart, Georgia and Cannon Crew Member, 8-8 Field Artillery, Camp Stanley, Korea.

Vines’ military training includes the U.S. Army Field Artillery School, Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute Combat Life Savers Course, Master Resilience Course, First Sergeant’s Course, Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course, Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course and Primary Leader Development Course.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct medal (Seventh award), Iraqi Campaign Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Development Ribbon (Third Award), Overseas Service Ribbon (Third Award), National Defense Service Medal (Second Award), Global War on Terror Service Medal, French Commando 4. He is also a former president of the Fort Hood Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.

Vines resides in San Antonio with his wife, Reverend Theresa. They have two daughters, Tierra Wilson and Brittin Vines, and a grandson, Marcus Wilson Jr.


Captain Tyler McCall, Senior Assistant Professor of Military Science

210-436-3415, ext. 1114
tmccall@stmarytx.edu

image of McCallCaptain McCall currently serves as the Senior Assistant Professor of Military Science and is responsible for the training and education of the MS II Cadets. He is from Waco and graduated from Baylor University with a B.B.A. in Finance in 2007. Commissioning in 2008 from the United States Army Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, McCall arrived to St. Mary’s University in January 2016.

Upon graduating from the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, McCall served as a fire support officer and platoon leader while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom IX with Alpha Troop, Second Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment, Fourth Brigade and First Armored Division. He later deployed with Bravo Battery, Second Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment and served as a battery executive officer and battalion fire direction officer in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom XI.

Upon graduation from the Field Artillery Captain’s Career Course at Fort Sill, he was assigned to Second Brigade Combat Team “STRIKE”, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) as the assistant brigade fire support officer. McCall deployed with First Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment “TOP GUNS” and served as the assistant operations officer, the chief of operations, and assumed command of Alpha Battery in September 2014 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom XIV.

McCall’s awards include: Bronze Star Medal (One Oak Leaf Cluster), Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (Two Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, NATO-International Security Assistance Force Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (second award), and the Air Assault Badge. He is a graduate of the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course, the Paladin Leader’s Course, the Field Artillery Captain’s Career Course, the Joint Firepower Course and Air Assault School.

McCall resides in San Antonio with his wife, the former Stephanie Nicole Highsmith of Houston, and their two daughters Maggie Claire (7) and Avery Grace (4).


Chez Varela, Assistant Professor of Military Science/Recruiting Operations Officer

210-436-3011, ext. 1517
cvarela@stmarytx.edu

Image of VarelaAfter service as an Air Force Space Command Communications Noncommissioned Officer, Retired Air Force Captain Augustine Varela Jr. entered the Reserve Officer Training Corps at University of Nebraska-Omaha. He was commissioned in 1990 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice. Varela is a graduate of the Signal Corps Officer’s Basic Course, Signal Corps Advance Course, Combined Arms Services Staff School (CAS3), Commander’s Course and the Observer/Controller Trainer (OC/T) Course.

His military assignments include Cable Platoon Leader in Desert Storm/Desert Shield; Tactical Satellite Platoon Leader; Company Executive Officer; G6 Telecommunication Staff Officer for the 22nd Signal Brigade, V Corps; S6, 297th Military Intelligence Battalion,

Fort Gordon, Georgia; Allied Military Intelligence Battalion, NATO Headquarters, Sarajevo, Bosnia; Company Commander, Charlie Company, 447th Signal Battalion, Fort Gordon, Georgia; Active Component / Reserve Component (AC/RC) Operations Officer, 75th Training Support Division, Houston; and Chief, J6 Operations, Exercise, and Training Branch for NATO Joint Headquarters, Madrid, Spain. He is currently the Recruiting Operations Officer for St. Mary’s University.

His awards and decorations include: Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (Three Oak Leaf Clusters), Air Force Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Good Conduct Award, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal (Three Campaign Stars), Kosovo Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Air Force NCO Leadership Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Air Force Training Ribbon, NATO Medal, Southeast Kuwait Liberation Medal, and the Kuwait LiberationMedal.

Varela resides in San Antonio and has one daughter, Augustina.


Michael McGee, Assistant Profession of Military Science

mmcgee1@stmarytx.edu

Image of McGeeMichael McGee is the Assistant Professor of Military Science and responsible for training and educating MS IIs. He also serves as the Operations Officer for the University of the Incarnate Word and is an integral part of the team that integrates operations with the host campus at St. Mary’s. He arrived in February 2014 after working as a Military Science Instructor at the University of Arizona. He retired in May 2013 as a Lieutenant Colonel, concluding 26 years of military service and an enlisted Soldier and Officer.

He served in both Infantry and Military Intelligence and completed three combat deployments in Afghanistan. McGee’s assignments include: Infantry Platoon Leader, Company Commander, Battalion Intelligence, Officer Candidate School Commandant,

Battalion Operations, Red Team Leader, and Strategic Intelligence Advisor to the Commander, International Security Assistance Forces. His awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Meritorious Service Medal (Two Oak Leaf Clusters) and the Army Commendation Medal (Seven Oak Leaf Clusters).

McGee resides in San Antonio with his wife, Betty, and has five children: Jenny, Tracy, Derek, Annjeanette and Matthew. He is also the grandfather of three grandchildren: Madison, Levi and Hannah.


Quintin Jeter, Logistics Technician

210-436-3415, ext. 1407
qjeter@stmarytx.edu

Quintin Jeter began his tenure with the Army in 1980 and ended in 2003. He first served as a Military Policeman and an operating room technician. He attended Northwestern State University for two years and completed the Senior ROTC program with a degree in Psychology. As a logistician in the Army, he served in a variety of assignments and completed his master’s degree in Acquisitions and Procurement.

He currently serves the St. Mary’s University ROTC Logistics Technician and is responsible for planning, coordinating and synchronizing all Cadre logistical support. He is the primary Cadre advisor for logistics to the Corps of Cadets.


Kent Kraus, Human Relations Administrator

210-436-3415, ext. 1511
kkraus1@stmarytx.edu

Image of KrausKent Kraus enlisted in the Army as a cavalry scout in March 1977. He served at multiple duty stations around the world including Fort Knox, Kentucky; Schweinfurt, Germany; St. Louis, Missouri and Hohenfels, Germany.

He retired from the Army in September 1997 and became the Human Resources Administrator for the ROTC department at the University of Illinois in 2004. He transferred to St. Mary’s University in January of 2013.

Kent resides in San Antonio with his wife Hilda and they have one daughter, Captain Jennifer Kraus, who is stationed in Illinois.

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