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Faces of Fort Cavazos: Jessy Espinola will be the first Commissioned Officer in a family of NCO's

Posted: 7:33 AM, May 09, 2024
Updated: 2024-05-09 08:33:02-04

KILLEEN, Texas (KXXV) — Jessy Espinola is a ROTC Cadet at Texas A&M Central Texas who’s about to become a lieutenant in the United States Army.

His story begins around the corner in Copperas Cove.

”Cove is a little lackluster,” Espinola said. “It's definitely a little bit of a sleepy town. I like a little more excitement, but I enjoyed the outdoors, and I enjoyed Texas as a whole.”

After seeing his father retire from the Army and other members of his family don the uniform, he chose to do the same and enlisted in the Army in 2014 before being accepted in the Army’s Green To Gold program.

At the same time, he was taking on a new mission at home, becoming a father himself.

That is why you chose to come back home for his time in the Green To Gold program.

”Yeah, absolutely,” Espinola said. “My wife was getting ready to have our first child and I was like okay, let me go to a place where I have family that can maybe help us out whenever we need it and let me focus on college a little more.”

He had already served eight years in the Army and reached the rank of Staff Sergeant before deciding he wanted to lead at a higher level.

”Sometimes I would receive an order that I didn't necessarily agree with, but I would execute and I realized 'hey, I think I could do this a little better,'” Espinola said. “So, why don’t I take the reigns from here?”

According to his ROTC Commander, he is ready to lead our nation’s heroes.

Maj. Kyle Surridge is an Assistant Professor of Military Science and ROTC Commander for TAMUCT.

”Cadet Espinola has been the example of what we want to see come out of this program,” Maj. Surridge said. "He's a mature individual, he comes to us with prior military experience, and he really embraced all the values we try to instill in our program here. He's been an excellent mentor to our junior cadets.”

There is something Maj. Surridge wants any soldiers that are going to be under Espinola command to know about who he is.

”I want them to know that he’s going to care about them,” Maj. Surridge said. “Definitely, Cadet Espinola, soon to be Lieutenant Espinola, he’s going to care about his soldiers.”

Espinola will be the first Commissioned Officer in his family and he has a message for the man that inspired him to serve.

”To my father, I just want to say thank you for all the mentorship and patience, that you allowed me to grow as a human being. You let me fail but you were always within arms reach to make sure that you could catch me and make sure I was good to go and continue the legacy we have in the United States Army,” Espinola said.