Four former University of Wisconsin-La Crosse ROTC cadets will be named to the inaugural class of the Eagle Battalion Hall of Fame.

The U.S. Army Cadet Command established the National ROTC Hall of Fame this summer at Fort Knox, Ky., and the UW-L ROTC battalion is establishing its own Hall of Fame this weekend to recognize the department’s distinguished alumni. Inductees will receive a plaque and have a display highlighting each member’s military awards, biography and a picture that will permanently hang in the department of military science.

Honoring those who have been in the program is important, Lt. Col. Jane E. Brannan, chair of the UW-L military science department, said. The Hall of Fame will allow the university to honor its alumni and their legacy, she said.

The Eagle Battalion includes cadets from UW-L, Viterbo University, Winona State University and St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. The induction ceremony will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, in Valhalla’s Cartwright Center-Gunning Addition and will be followed by a barbecue at 11 a.m. and the UW-L football game at 1 p.m., where Hall of Fame inductees will be honored.

The first four inductees into the Eagle Battalion Hall of Fame include:

Col. Gerald W. Meyer, U.S. Army Retired, a 1973 graduate of UW-L. He served 32 years in the Army as an armor and adjutant general officer, culminating with participating in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. For his service, he was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.

Col. Eric D. Kerska, U.S. Army Retired, a 1987 graduate of WSU. He served as a tank company executive officer in 3rd Armored Division during the legendary 100 hours of ground combat during the 1991 Gulf War and later commanded a headquarters company before returning to the Minnesota Army National Guard in 1994. He was deployed twice to the Iraq War with the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team and 34th Infantry Division, serving as the brigade’s commander during his second deployment. During his 32 years of service, he was given three Legion of Merit awards and two Bronze Stars.

Capt. Timothy E. Hornik, U.S. Army Retired, a 2002 Graduate of Viterbo. He was deployed to Iraq with the 1st Cavalry Division and while on combat patrol on Veterans Day 2004, he was shot in the head by a sniper, leaving him permanently blind. For his sacrifice, he was awarded the Purple Heart. In recognition of his bravery, he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Valor. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in therapeutic sciences from the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Capt. Jason L. Church, U.S. Army Retired, is a 2011 graduate of UW-L, where he played fullback three years and was a starting defensive end and team captain his senior year. After completing training, including Ranger School, he was deployed to Afghanistan with the 2nd Infantry Division. While leading his infantry platoon on a combat patrol, he was struck by an improvised explosive device and lost both legs. He was awarded the Purple Heart. After earning a master’s in U.S. security policy from Georgetown University while recovering from his wounds, he began attending law school at UW-Madison. He works on the staff of U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson.

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Nathan Hansen has been the Education Reporter for the Tribune since 2014. Prior to that, he covered education, agriculture and business topics for the Winona Daily News. He is always on the lookout for news tips and can be contacted at 608-791-8234.

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