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    Pa. National Guard Soldier receives prestigious ROTC award

    Pa. National Guard Soldier receives prestigious ROTC award

    Courtesy Photo | Second Lt. Lea Lenker, center, poses for a photo with members of Capt. Brian Faunce's...... read more read more



    Story by Brad Rhen 

    Joint Force Headquarters - Pennsylvania National Guard

    FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – A Pennsylvania National Guard Soldier, who was commissioned May 5 through the ROTC program at Penn State University, received a prestigious ROTC award April 27.

    Second Lt. Lea Lenker received the Capt. Brian Faunce Memorial Scholarship Award, which is presented annually to a graduating Penn State Army ROTC student who best demonstrates the spirit, leadership and courage of Faunce. The award is designed to help the recipient begin their military career with monetary gift and a gift card to AAFES for the purchase of uniforms, boots and other required gear.

    Lenker, a resident of Gratz, Pa., said it was a tremendous honor to receive the award.

    “It’s such a special thing that they can take such a tragedy of losing their son, their brother and make it into an opportunity where they’re supporting the Nittany Lion Battalion,” Lenker said. “What a beautiful way to turn a tragedy into something so special for the family, the school and the ROTC program.”

    Lenker is the first National Guard-bound senior and Pennsylvania Army National Guard Simultaneous Membership Program cadet to receive the award since its inception.

    “To be the first to represent the Pennsylvania National Guard is something I will be so proud of,” Lenker said.

    Lenker currently drills with the Pennsylvania Medical Readiness Detachment at Fort Indiantown Gap. After commissioning on May 5, she graduated May 7 with a bachelor’s degree in bio-behavioral health.

    Lenker will branch into the Medical Service Corps and plans to attend the Basic Officer Leadership Course later this year and start medical school in 2024. Once she’s completed medical school, she will be reappointed as a doctor and continue to be a part of the Pennsylvania National Guard.
    She said she chose the Pennsylvania National Guard over active-duty service for several reasons.

    “The big thing was the population I want to serve in terms of medicine,” Lenker said. “On the military side, I was hoping to do more of an administrative medical role, and on my civilian side I’m hoping to do community medicine for underserved populations.”

    Maj. Israel Miller, who served as the Penn State Army ROTC assistant professor of military science and executive officer from January 2019 to June 2022, said being selected as the recipient of the Captain Faunce award is a big deal for ROTC cadets at Penn State.

    “Not only does it help the cadet financially to start his or her military career as a young officer, but it means so much more,” said Miller, who now serves as the personnel division chief for the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. “Captain Brian Faunce was a Penn State graduate who from a very young age embodied the Army Values. He was a true-born leader who earned the respect and loyalty of those around him.”

    Faunce, a 1996 graduate of Penn State University, entered the Army on Aug. 10, 1996, and served as the commander of Bravo Company, 1-12th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado.

    He was killed in action on Sept. 18, 2023, at the age of 28 in Al Asad, Iraq. To honor him, his family and friends established the memorial fund and began to present this award to a graduating senior, starting with the class of 2004.

    “Every year, a senior cadet is selected by the Faunce family to honor Brian based on the traits and potential to become the great leader Brian was,” Miller said. “Lea Lenker represents just that. From the time she was a first-year cadet walking the halls of Wagner Building at Penn State, anyone could see how determined she was to become the best officer she could be.

    “She achieved top honors, high physical fitness scores, was involved in extracurricular activities, held leadership positions and still managed to smile while doing it all,” Miller added. “She is truly deserving of this award and will be a great officer in the Pennsylvania National Guard.”



    Date Taken: 05.10.2023
    Date Posted: 05.10.2023 09:48
    Story ID: 444439
    Hometown: GRATZ, PA, US

    Web Views: 171
    Downloads: 0