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New Army ROTC initiative connects past with future

Program will provide mentorship for ASU cadets

Col. James Sink speaks at commissioning ceremony
May 17, 2021

A new program at Arizona State University will carry the name of a legendary Arizona figure and ASU’s first Alumni Association president with the goal of mentoring tomorrow’s leaders by connecting them with those who came before.  

The Department of Military Science recently established the ASU Army ROTC James McClintock Hall of Fame and inducted its first two alumni members during the battalion’s commissioning ceremony held at Tempe Diablo Stadium May 5.

“This was a project that was important to me, important to our former senior noncommissioned officer Master Sgt. Cunningham and important to Mrs. Robbins, who really did all the work to make this happen,” said Col. James Sink, professor of military science and Army ROTC commander, during the ceremony. “The reason it is important to us — it’s because I saw it not only as a way to honor people who’ve had a huge impact on this ROTC program but also to reconnect our program, our cadets, to officers like the ones you’re about to meet, former officers Col. James Barker and Lt. Col. Dallas Eubanks.”

Lisa Robbins, Army ROTC business operations specialist, has worked for seven years at linking the university’s military history with ROTC. One link to honor this history is by holding commissioning ceremonies for their cadets at Old Main, which is where the original Corps of Cadets held military formations in the 1880s. But they wanted to do more.

“Two years ago we started working on the hall of fame,” said Robbins, who grew up in an Army family. “We wanted to honor individuals who went above and beyond to advance the Army ROTC program at ASU. By starting this program we hope to establish a tradition of mentorship.”

Robbins' father, retired Lt. Col. Jerry Lape served his final military assignment as the executive officer for ASU Army ROTC. Her brother graduated from the program in 1985. With these program connections, in addition to her nine years working for the department, Robbins is enthused about what the hall of fame can mean for the unit.

“I look forward to seeing it grow over the coming years,” Robbins said. “We look to establish a link between the program’s history and the future. It will allow a connection between past graduates and people who have had great impact on the program to mentor our current and future cadets as they go forward into a life of service.”  

The first two inductees attended ASU in the late 1980s.

Barker was commissioned as an armor officer from ASU in 1988. He spent 26 years in the Army at various places in the U.S., Korea and Germany. Barker served in combat as a battalion task force scout platoon leader during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Iraq in the early 1990s, where he earned the Silver Star for “gallantry in action.” He returned to the region in recent years as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After being inducted to the hall of fame, Barker addressed the cadets.

“Those of us in uniform, we are in the people business,” Barker said. “It’s the people that make the equipment function, that give us the opportunities to train with it, that maintain it with us and for us, and help us to employ it in combat if necessary.

“Leadership truly is about empowering your subordinates, it’s about empowering them with the responsibility and authority to do their job, and then it’s about holding them accountable — expecting them to know and do that job.”

Eubanks is the current Army ROTC recruiting operations officer at ASU. After commissioning at ASU in 1987, he went on to serve 21 years in the Army as a field artillery and fire support officer. He served in operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia. Eubanks was also inducted in the U.S. Army ROTC National Hall of Fame in 2016.

“When I returned to ASU in 2015 to work for the Department of Military Science, it was surreal being back where it all began,” Eubanks said. “It’s an honor to help recruit and mentor future Sun Devil Battalion alums, and I’m lucky to have come full circle and be back here at ASU.

“As for being inducted into the hall of fame, I’m so humbled with the recognition, thankful to my family for their support along the way, and thankful to the noncommissioned officers and soldiers I served with throughout my 21 years of active duty.”

As the first two inductees, Barker and Eubanks are now responsible for working with the ROTC commander to develop by-laws and procedures for selecting future former cadets to the hall of fame, with the intent of organizing an induction every year around homecoming weekend. 

“This year is the beginning of a new tradition to honor deserving classmates and future generations of Sun Devil lieutenants with future induction into this hall of fame,” Eubanks said.

McClintock was part of the first Territorial Normal School at Tempe graduating class. The school later became ASU. McClintock was also part of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and fought in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, where he was seriously wounded. McClintock continued his military service after being elected colonel of the First Arizona Infantry. He went on to volunteer in several organizations, including serving as first president of the Normal School Alumni Association,  Rough Riders Association, and as the first commander for the Spanish War Veterans for the Department of Arizona. He was an educator, historian and community leader.

Top photo: Lt. Col. Dallas Eubanks (left) and Col. James Barker, both retired, stand at attention while being inducted into the ASU Army ROTC James McClintock Hall of Fame, during the unit's commissioning ceremony at Tempe Diablo Stadium, May 5. Photo by Lisa Robbins/ASU Army ROTC  

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