Being a student-athlete and a member of the U.S. Army National Guard during the pandemic can be hard, but to her credit, UW-Green Bay junior Taylor Reichow, a Computer Science major, excels at both.
The Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corp (ROTC) cadet and goalkeeper for the Green Bay women’s soccer team, earned distinguished honors this summer in her Advanced Individual Training (AIT) and received two awards — the Distinguished Honor Graduate Award for placing the highest in a series of tests and the Army Achievement Medal.
Her training took place at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. As a Multiple Launch Rocket Systems crewmember, Reichow learned things such as loading rocket pods onto resupply vehicles, military communication using the SINCGARS radio system and preventative maintenance checks on all vehicles used to shoot rockets. She did all of this in extreme (120 degrees Fahrenheit) heat!
Reichow shined from the beginning, but was nervous for the last test. “The sergeants and instructors had to give us our grades mid-way through training and to my surprise I was in the number one position with a 99.75%,” she said. “I was super nervous for every test I took because the last two were the most difficult ones. I wasn’t sure I could hold my spot because there was heavy competition. We had a field training exercise which was four days, three nights [and] I had to get a 96% in order to keep my position at No. 1, and with it, the Distinguished Honor Graduate Award.”
The Army Achievement Medal was later awarded when her Drill Sergeant in Wisconsin got word of her high achievements and he sent her name in to be considered. This medal is awarded to any member of the armed forces that distinguishes themselves by meritorious services or achievement.
She was honored by the recognition. “This is the best thing that has happened to me. I was thrilled that I was able to accomplish something this huge. Because I was the distinguished honor graduate, I was able to shoot my first six rockets while I was at training, which was everything I could ask for.”
Back on campus, she continues to train with Green Bay women’s soccer, and has also taken on leadership roles in the Women in Technology student organization. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a job in the technology industry while coaching either soccer or basketball to keep her love of the sports alive. Throughout all of this though Reichow will continue in the Army National Guard.
Two years in, Reichow joined the ROTC to be a part of something bigger than herself. She’s one example of a Phoenix rising to meet the expectations of her coaches, her teammates and her ROTC peers and leaders.
Story by Charlotte Berg, Marketing and University Communication intern