“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth,” former President Ronald Reagan, October 27, 1964. A beloved president. Inspiring words. A dream born in the heart of a college freshman 14 years after President Reagan gave this speech.
“I was mesmerized by his words,” said NNU alumni Bob Sanchez. “He was speaking about a legacy and something bigger than just one person or group of people. Inspired by his speech, I went to talk to the Army ROTC instructor the next day. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.”
Sanchez’s decision to join the ROTC was his first step toward a successful career in the U.S. Army. After earning his undergraduate degree from Boise State University in 1990, Sanchez was commissioned as an officer in the Army. He then went on to earn his master of business administration from NNU in 1999. Now, nearly 10 years later, he is serving his country in an impressive capacity—as a commanding officer.
The U.S. Army recently promoted Sanchez to Battalion Commander of the United States Army Recruiting Battalion Baton Rouge. He is in command of eight U.S. Army recruiting companies and 54 U.S. Army recruiting stations, covering the four states of Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee and Kentucky. He oversees an annual budget of $25.8 million.
In the U.S. Army, the selection process for commanding officers is extremely competitive and only 10 percent of the qualified lieutenant colonels are selected to command. Sanchez said he considers it a tremendous honor and an awesome responsibility to command this battalion. “Throughout my career, I have tried to teach life rather than tactics, techniques or procedures. I believe that everyone has the potential to be a champion and win every day. No matter the obstacles, what excites me most about this new assignment is building a team that thinks ‘WIN,’” Sanchez said.
Sanchez’s recent promotion is the culmination of years of dedication and success as he served his country. He has served all over the world, including participation in a combat parachute assault into northern Iraq, as well as a tour in Afghanistan. He has been honored with more than a dozen military awards, including the Bronze Star Medal.
Sanchez, who was born and raised just a few blocks from NNU, said his education played a vital role in preparing him for his life and his career with the U.S. Army. He said that one of the enduring lessons he learned at NNU was from Dr. Ronald Galloway, dean of the School of Business, who taught him the importance of challenging young people by having high expectations of them and then giving them the opportunity to realize those expectations through constructive, character-building activities.
Sanchez now uses those leadership skills on a daily basis as he commands the hundreds of soldiers in his unit. “I command a unit with 11 officers and 390 soldiers. When you add their families to that number, it equates to about one thousand people. Every one of these professionals, soldiers and family members sacrifice much in the defense of freedom and deserve only the best,” Sanchez said.
Northwest Nazarene University, a Christian comprehensive university, offers over 60 areas of study, master’s degree programs in eleven disciplines, accelerated degree programs, concurrent credit for high school students, and a variety of continuing education credits. In addition to its 85-acre campus located in Nampa, Idaho, the University also offers programs online as well as in Boise, Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, and in cooperation with programs in 10 countries. Founded in 1913, the university now serves over 1,900 undergraduate and graduate students, more than 10,000 continuing education students, and 1,900 high school students through the concurrent credit program.
Photo Caption: Bob Sanchez with his wife of 19 years, Lori (Willis), an NNU alumna, and their two children, Sierra, 12, and Dakota, 10.