FORT KNOX, Ky. (Jan. 13, 2012) -- With humbleness, Lt. Col. David Yebra credits Sam Houston State University's strong partnership with ROTC as an important factor in his selection as the 2011 Professor of Military Science of the Year for his dedication and commitment to U.S. Army Cadet Command and the Army. He also praises his mentors, from high school and the Army, for helping him on his path to success.
Yebra is honored to be recognized for the role he truly relishes -- developing Army leaders as the head of Sam Houston State University's ROTC program in Huntsville, Texas. He was chosen by Cadet Command for this award out of 273 of his peers across the country.
Yebra started his Army career as a cadet at West Point after his high school counselor encouraged him to learn more about educational opportunities during a college fair. Yebra was unsure of his future plans after high school, and he never saw himself as an Army officer until he talked to the West Point recruiters at the fair. He applied to West Point soon after, and when he got there he gained a better understanding of what it really means to be an officer in the Army. Now, he instills the leadership ideals he gained at West Point in his ROTC cadets at Sam Houston State University.
After graduating from West Point, Yebra continued his education through the Army at Long Island University where he received his master's degree in counseling and leader development. He also attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Through his 20 years of service, several deployments and being stationed with different units across the country, Yebra has built close relationships with several Army leaders, such as Maj. Gen. James Boozer, Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza, Col. Tony Burgess, retired Col. Chris Fulton and retired Lt. Col. Mike Hilliard, whose mentorship had a significant impact on his career.
"At different points of my life, these mentors informed me about the various opportunities that exist in the Army," Yebra said. "They taught me how to enjoy being in the Army, and they have made my experiences in the Army that much more special."
Yebra strives to pass on what he learned from his mentors by being a good mentor for his ROTC cadets. He also works to generate awareness among high school students of the opportunities the Army can provide them. He uses his story as an example of how people from various backgrounds can make it as an Army officer. In May, Yebra will go back to his hometown in Tucson, Ariz., as the graduation speaker at his high school alma mater.
"I want to let young people know that it can be done," Yebra said. "If you are passionate about what you want to do, the Army will make it happen."