November 7, 2012
MSUB ROTC cadet and Army veteran showcases leadership with Veterans Day event
Sunday run and barbecue will take cadets from Laurel to Billings
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269
MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — By the time he gets out of college, Tyler Murray should have that leadership thing licked.
As a veteran, he didn’t need to prove his leadership abilities. But if there were any doubts, they will be set aside this weekend.
A 26-year-old third-year cadet with the Montana State University Billings ROTC program and former staff sergeant with the U.S. Army, Murray knows what it takes to be a leader. He did two years in Iraq with the Airborne infantry and then did a stint as a security driver for a two-star general in Washington, D.C.
It’s fair to say he knows how to get things done.
But few things have tested his mettle as the work he’s done over the past few weeks to organize a 50-mile run and ceremony for Veterans Day. From getting his fellow cadets to sign up for bits of the run to finding special speakers, to developing his first website, Murray is entering new territory.
“Mostly I just want to make ROTC more well-known in the community,” he says shyly.
If it all goes according to plan, he will have done just that by Sunday evening.
Murray and other cadets in the MSU Billings ROTC program have organized a special run and barbecue in honor of Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11. Cadets will run in pairs from Laurel to Billings to promote the ROTC name within the community, raise awareness of Veterans Day and honor all veterans — past and present — for their service and sacrifice.
Murray has been getting it done while taking 18 credits of college classes, working two part-time jobs and maintaining all the ROTC requirements.
The event begins at 6 a.m. at the Veterans Cemetery in Laurel. Pairs of cadets will jog at a 14-minute-mile pace from Laurel, through the west end of Billings and end up 50 miles later at the Armed Forces Reserve Center on Gabel Road at about 6 p.m.
The barbecue and Veterans Day ceremony at the reserve center are free and open to the public.
The cadets will take turns holding an American flag as they jog through neighborhoods and business areas to help remind people that Sunday is a day to honor those who served in the military.
“Most people won’t know it’s Veterans Day until they see the flag,” Murray said.
A 2002 graduate of Billings Senior High, spent time at St. Louis University before he figured out it wasn’t a good fit. He joined the Army in 2004 and was on active duty for seven years. He didn’t think much about moving into the officer ranks until a general in Washington gave him some information on the Army’s “Green to Gold” program that offers enlisted soldiers the chance to move into an officer rank through the ROTC.
Convinced of his potential, that general also gave Murray a scholarship.
He moved back to Billings and moved from enlisted man to cadet/future officer in the fall of 2011. It’s a choice, he says, he knows will have an impact.
“I’ve seen men and women of very high caliber make a difference in the military from the ROTC and they have made a difference in my life,” he said. “I want to become an officer to make a difference in someone’s life the way they have.”
This weekend’s Veterans Day event will help demonstrate that ability, he said. He hopes many veterans attend the barbecue and ceremony so that current cadets can make new connections with comrades who have served their country in the past. Those connections, he said, are powerful.
To find out more about the event, call Murray at 406-860-1026 or go to https://sites.google.com/site/msubrotcveteransdayrun/home