CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait — The commanding general for 1st Theater Sustainment Command selected two noncommissioned officers serving in the Middle East to receive Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Green to Gold Division Commander’s Hip Pocket Scholarships.
Maj. Gen. Michel M. Russell Sr. awarded Sgt. Charles M. Belcher, an information technology specialist assigned to the Fort Bragg, North Carolina, based 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command deployed here, and Sgt. Julia Elmore, a combat medic assigned to Task Force Sinai serving in Egypt, each a two-year scholarship.
While pursuing higher education, the Soldiers will participate in their respective institutions’ ROTC programs to earn their commissions in the Army as second lieutenants.
To be eligible for the scholarships, Belcher and Elmore had to meet specific criteria, and their military records had to demonstrate evidence of scholastic success, athletic prowess, and leadership potential.
“This scholarship is an excellent opportunity for Soldiers to achieve their educational goals and continue their Army service,” Russell said. “I am privileged to award these two outstanding NCOs these scholarships because they have immense potential to serve as officers and the ability to continue to do great things for our Army.”
Belcher, a native of San Antonio, Texas, has been in the Army for four years. He said he applied for the scholarship when the opportunity presented itself.
“I just want to be able to do more than I was able to do as an NCO,” Belcher said. “As I talked to a bunch of senior officers, I learned that … they can influence more people, rather than just my squad of Soldiers.”
The information technology specialist currently has 42 credit hours towards a bachelor’s degree, which he earned by attending Advanced Individual Training and completing courses while serving in the Army. He plans on attending either the University of the Incarnate Word or St. Mary’s University in his hometown to complete his bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or computer science.
“My family definitely supports me, especially my older brother who is a first lieutenant in the Army, and also my peers and my senior leaders—they definitely wanted to see me do more as an officer rather than just staying as an enlisted Soldier,” Belcher said. “I’m just thankful for all of my leaders who helped me and who stuck their neck out for me.”
Elmore, who hails from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, already has a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. She said she applied for the scholarship because she feels she has capped out on how much she can give to her Soldiers as a noncommissioned officer.
“I’ve had amazing NCOs my whole career, and [becoming] an NCO was a huge point for me, but it got to a point in my career where I saw how much more officers can do for their Soldiers than NCOs can do,” Elmore said. “The best way for me to give back to the Army and give more of myself is to go to the officer side.”
Elmore has served for four years and four months and plans on ending her term of service with the Army and beginning a master’s program in sociology at Texas A&M University in the fall.
“I did not tell a single soul that I was applying [and] the first thing I did was I called my best friend who also got into Green to Gold this year,” the combat medic said. “I told her ‘now we can go in together,’ and that was the best feeling in the world.”
She said the moment Russell let her know, via conference call, that she was selected to receive the scholarship, she couldn’t stop smiling.