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Combat Veteran, ROTC Cadet Honored for Service and Dedication to Program

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Cal State Fullerton ROTC Cadet Mayra Bendavid followed her passion in 2011 and joined the U.S. Army at the age of 28. “I’d always wanted to serve but family responsibilities put it on hold, as I did with my education,” she says.

As a combat medic, she served with distinction in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, receiving commendations throughout her Army career, including the Afghanistan Campaign, Global War on Terrorism Service and NATO medals.

But Bendavid wanted to do more: to complete her college degree and become an officer. To do so, she became part of the Army’s Green & Gold Active Duty Option Program, stepping out of active service for two years and joining ROTC. And it was the words of Brig. Gen. Bertram Providence of the Medical Service Corps. that directed the move.

“I was fortunate to witness his leadership and absorb all the wisdom he bestowed upon myself and others,” the senior sociology major explains. “He shared his personal experience as an ROTC cadet and how it was one of the best decisions he ever made.

“I can now relate to his decision. ROTC has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience for me. I have the opportunity to influence others … and I actively make an effort to share with all the younger cadets all that I have learned.”

That passion and experience is reflected in all that the cadet has done as part of the Titan ROTC Battalion — and the reason that she was recently honored as Cadet of the Month by the ROTC Cadet Command 8th Brigade, which oversees cadet units throughout the western United States.

“She is an outstanding cadet leader in our program,” says Capt. Tameka Floyd, noting Bendavid’s scholastic achievements. “Cadet Bendavid is well known among the battalion for consistently achieving results beyond the maximum standard on the Army physical fitness test and surpassing each previous score she has earned.

“In addition, she has shown strong leadership, serving as the executive officer for the Titan Battalion and co-captain for our Ranger Challenge Team,” Floyd added. “And she manages to volunteer at a local retirement home during her free time.”

“ROTC has been a great program and has taught me so much from time management to leadership,” said Bendavid. “My personal goal is to become an influential leader in the life of soldiers, just as the leaders in my life have had a lasting impact on me. Hopefully, more individuals will be exposed to such training and skill development.”

Bendavid “is one terrific individual,” agreed CSUF alumnus Gregory Wirzbicki, who founded a scholarship endowment for ROTC cadets and veterans attending the university. “She was among the inaugural recipients of the Vets and Cadets Scholarship Fund. To reward Mayra Bendavid with a scholarship was a great honor and pleasure, and more than reason enough to donate yet more — and seek donations from others as well.”

Contributions in support of the university’s veterans and ROTC cadets may be made to the Vets & Cadets fund. For more information, contact Liz Eastin at 657-278-5466 or