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Master Sergeant Torre built UNCP’s ROTC program

August 31, 2009

There has been a change in command at UNC Pembroke’s ROTC program.

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MSG John Torre

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CPT Warren Winthrow

Master Sergeant John Torre, who was the face of the program for 15 years, stepped down effective August 20. Captain Warren Winthrow, who is in his second year in Pembroke, will lead the program.

MSG Torre leaves behind a strong program with 70 students enrolled for 2009-10. He is proud of the ROTC program and UNCP.

“We only had two students in the program when I got here in 1994, and it was in danger of being cancelled,” he said. “The program grew because of its good relations with the campus and the town, which always honored us.”

“Everybody was great here,” he said. “I’m very proud of UNCP, and I brag about our school.”

MSG Torre was pleased to see his old friend Dr. Charles Jenkins return as interim chancellor.

“Dr. Jenkins was vice chancellor for Academic Affairs then and the first person I met on campus,” MSG Torre said. “We worked together and his support was one of the reasons the program succeeded.

Chancellor Jenkins remembers MSG Torre well.

“MSG Torre made a real difference in UNCP’s ROTC program, making it special for our students and the University,” Chancellor Jenkins said. “His enthusiasm, genuine interest in students and the University, and his dedication to training ROTC students will always be part of his legendary legacy at UNCP.”

A Guam native, MSG Torre retired from active duty in 1996 after 20 years of service and tours in Desert Storm and Panama during armed conflicts. He worked on contract since then and will continue training soldiers in Kenya.

“It will be business as usual – training,” he said in an interview on his last day. “We will work on the basics.”

MSG Torre worked on more than the basics at UNCP. He inspired hundreds of young men and women to fulfill their potential.

“This is not just a job,” he said. “It’s about getting to know everybody including the seven high schools here.

“I enjoyed working with the students and motivating them,” said the 52-year-old MSG Torre said. “I tell them, if I can do it, so can they.”