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This item originally appeared in the May 6, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.

By ALISA THOMAS

Staff Writer

Air Force ROTC Detachment 305 will bid farewell to its unit admissions officer, Maj. James D. Tucker on May 31.

Tucker came to the university on a voluntary three-year recall to active duty, which is when a reservist asks to be called back to duty.

"I chose to come back to Tech," Tucker said. "It has been a great three years."

Tucker graduated from Tech in 1985, receiving his commission to be an officer in the U.S. Air Force. He assumed the position of 2nd Lieutenant.

Tucker plans to enter Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and complete a master's degree in divinity.

"I'm going to do what I have been telling my students to do, and that is going back to school," Tucker said.

Robert Endler, a sophomore accounting major and president of Silver Wings, a national coed service organization associated with the Air Force ROTC, is happy for Tucker and wishes him well in all his tasks.

"I'm glad for him," Endler said. "It is his chance to move on and experience new things.

Other cadets consider Tucker a role model and a good friend.

"Maj. Tucker has kept me on the right path, and he constantly reminds us of the core values of life," Cadet Capt. Brandon Wood, a junior mechanical engineering major, said. "Having him leave will create a void."

Taking over in Tucker's stead is 1st Lt. Lance A. Merkley, an assistant professor of aerospace studies and cadet trainer.

Merkley accepts the upcoming responsibilities that are associated with the promotion to unit admissions officer. He said he looks forward to continuing Tucker's job.

"We wish him well in his future endeavors, and we will definitely miss his experience," Merkley said. "I'm trying to milk him of all [his] information and strategies so that I can continue his job."

Endler said he considers Merkley ready to take on Tucker's job.

"Lt. Merkley will do a great job; no matter what his tasks may include, he can handle the challenge," Endler said.

Tucker leaves us with praise for the university and its students.

"I think that Tech is still an outstanding university, and I am proud of the students that have graduated and commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants through our program," Tucker said. "These young men and women are the best that our country has to offer."


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