A cadre is a small group of people specially trained for a particular purpose or profession. These are the decorated current and former servicemembers who are dedicated to developing Florida Tech students into confident and courageous leaders.
Lieutenant Colonel James (Jimmy) Crook first joined the Army in 1993 as an Enlisted Soldier in the medical field. After six years of active duty he was awarded an ROTC Scholarship and was commissioned as an Adjutant General Officer in 2004 from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. He has served in US Army NATO, 82d Airborne Division, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regement, and the United States Army Special Operations Command. He holds a Bachelor's of Science in Communications from Florida Southern College, Master's of Human Relations from The University of Oklahoma, and a Master's of Professional Studies in Legislative Affairs from The George Washington University. As a Congressional Fellow, he served on Capitol Hill for the Chair of the Tactical Air and Land Subcommittee and as the Legislative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. He has deployed multiple times in support of combat operations to both Iraq and Afghanistan.
SFC Arsenio Rodriguez | Senior Military Instructor (MSII)
SFC Rodriguez enlisted in the Army as an Infantryman in 2000. After completing Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training, SFC Rodriguez was stationed in Germany. While in Germany he was assigned to a mechanized infantry company where he served for the duration of his initial enlistment contract. SFC Rodriguez left active duty for two years following the completion of his initial contract. He returned to active duty and completed the Special Forces Qualification.
SFC Rodriguez served with 1st Armored Division and the 10th Special Forces Group. He has served as primary instructor and advisor in multiple training exercises with partner forces. His deployments include the Balkans for peace keeping missions and the Middle East for combat operations.
SFC Jeremy Brandon | Military Science Instructor (MS III)
SFC Brandon enlisted as a Fire Support Specialist in 2000, completing Basic and Advanced Individual training at Fort Sill, OK. SFC Brandon’s duty assignments include Ft. Bragg, NC, Schofield Barracks, HI, Ft. Campbell, KY, and Osan AB, South Korea.
SFC Brandon has served in numerous leadership positions including Forward Observer, Squad Leader, Fire Support Noncommissioned Officer (Team Chief and Section NCOIC), Targeting NCO, Small Group Leader, Senior Small Group Leader, Platoon Sergeant, and Operations Sergeant (NCOIC and SGM). SFC Brandon has deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
SFC Brandon’s awards and decorations include: Meritorious Service Medal (3rd Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Commendation Medal (5th Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Achievement Medal (5th Oak Leaf Cluster), Presidential Unit Citation, Valorous Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Citation (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Good Conduct Medal (5th Award), Nation Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (2 Campaign Stars), Iraq Campaign Medal (4 Campaign Stars), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (2nd Award), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (3rd Award), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, (5th Award), NATO Defense Medal, Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, German Parachutist Badge, and the Norwegian Foot March Badge.
SFC Brandon’s additional military training includes the Advanced Airborne School Jumpmaster Course, the Total Army Instructor Trainer Course, the Small Group Leader Instructor Trainer Course, Joint Firepower Controllers Course, Joint Fires Observer Course, Battle Staff Course, and Master Resiliency Trainer Course.
SFC Brandon has been married to the former Robin M. Helm since 1995, and they have been blessed with three children: Victoria, Jordan, and Matthew.
SSG Michael Garutti | Military Science Instructor (MS I)
“SSG Garutti was born in Rockledge, FL on October 30th 1969 and lived on Merritt Island until he enlisted in the United States Army on 07 July 1988. He received his basic and advanced individual training at Fort Sill, OK. During his initial time of service he served as a Paratrooper for an accumulative period of 2 years as a Cannon Crewman with the 319th AFAR, 82d Airborne Division. In September 2002, he reentered service in the Florida Army National Guard, re-classing to Infantry and in September 2006 transferred back to Active Duty. In 2014 he served as a SR. Drill SGT, training new enlisted Infantry Soldiers on Sand Hill, Ft. Benning, GA.
SSG Garutti's previous assignments include: 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division Fort Bragg NC.; 1st Battalion, 116th Field Artillery Regiment and 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, 53rd Infantry Brigade, Florida Army National Guard; 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, GA; and 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry Training Battalion, 198th Infantry Brigade, Fort Benning, GA.
He has completed the Basic Airborne School, the Warrior Leader’s course, the Advance Leader’s Course phase I and II, and Drill Sergeant school.
His awards and decorations include: the Bronze Star Medal; the Army Commendation Medal (2OLC); the Army Achievement medal (2OLC); the Army Good Conduct Medal (5th award); the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; the Afghan Campaign medal (w/ 1 star); the Iraq Campaign medal (w/ 3 stars); the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal; the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (w/ NO 2); the Army Service Medal; the Overseas Service Ribbon (3rd award); The Armed Forces Reserve Medal (W/M); the Parachutist Badge; the Drill Sergeant Badge; the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.”
Mr. John Hudacek is the Recruiting Operations Officer for Florida Tech’s ROTC Panther Battalion. He grew up in nearby Satellite Beach and joined the Army after high school. He served in the Army from 1977 through 1997 in such positions as infantryman, aerial photographer, drill sergeant, and special forces medic.
He began his next career at a private military boarding school in Melbourne. In 2010, he returned to the US Army in a civil service position as an educational advisor in Baton Rouge, LA. He started working at Florida Tech in 2014 as the battalion’s recruiter.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies from Excelsior College, a Master of Arts in Military Science from American Military University, and a Masters or Business Administration from Florida Tech and is certified in Florida as a Social Science teacher grades 6-12.
His hobbies include piloting anything that flies, SCUBA diving, and skydiving. He is married to Susanne Hudacek and has three children.
Dana Washington joined our team as the Human Resource Assistant in April 2014. She began her career in the U. S. Army as a Personnel Management Specialist, and also deployed to Desert Storm/Shield. After 10 years of service and receiving her honorable discharge, she held several positions in the civilian human resources sector until 2004, when she became the Human Resource Assistant for the Army ROTC program at Florida Southern College (FSC). While working at FSC, she received her BA in Human Resources Management. She is a Florida native, who now makes her home in West Melbourne with her son Malik, who is also an Army veteran and attending Florida Institute of Technology, majoring in Mechanical Engineering and his wife Simone. She also has a daughter, Adara, whose husband Jeremy is currently serving in the U. S. Army at Ft. Stewart, GA.