Two UNM ROTC Units to Receive New Commanders this Summer

May 19, 2016 - Dorene DiNaro

Lt. Col Garcia Lt. Col Crawford (pic l to r Lt. Cols Garcia and Crawford)

Two of the three UNM ROTC Units will be receiving new commanders this summer with the departure of the current commanders, Lt. Col Fred E. Garcia and Lt. Col Kenneth T. Crawford at the end of May.  Beginning in June, Lt. Col Neal Kleinschmidt, will take over the helm for the University’s Air Force ROTC; and Major Alissa A. McKaig will lead the Army ROTC. 

Garcia will begin his new assignment as the 341st Deputy Mission Support Group Commander at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana. Crawford will be filling the position of Professor of Military Science at Clemson University prior to his retirement in two years.

Both commanders served at UNM from 2014 to 2016 and enjoyed success in their respective units.  The UNM Air Force ROTC is currently ranked number 30 in the nation for highest CGPA and number 83 for fitness scores out of 145 detachments.  “The detachment currently has 13 cadets on full-ride Air Force Scholarships,” Garcia says.  “Twenty-four cadets are contracted to become officers in the next few years.”

 Crawford says he truly enjoyed his time at UNM, “I love the atmosphere at UNM and the staff in Student Affairs,” he says.  “I will definitely miss my staff in the Army ROTC program—they have been the most professional group of people I have worked with in my 19 years of Army service.”

Both units will be left in capable hands this summer.  Kleinschmidt most recently served as the Director of Operations, Air Delivered Capabilities Directorate, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, where he was responsible for maintaining directorate plans, programs, and processes; coordinating disciplinary actions, personnel actions, and represents the Director in their absence.  He is also the Unit Reserve Coordinator and supervises 8 civilians, 3 Air Force Reserve Non-Commissioned Officers, 2 Air National Guard Non-Commissioned Officers, and 1 Air Force Active Duty Non-Commissioned Officer. 

McKaig is a native of New Jersey and is commissioned in aviation.  Her first operational assignment was at Fort Hood, TX where she served as Company Executive Officer and Platoon Leader, 2nd Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Infantry Division (mechanized), and was also deployed with the unit to Iraq in 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  After this tour, McKaig served in Yongsan, South Korea. 

Please join us in wishing Garcia and Crawford well in their new endeavors, and help us welcome Kleinschmidt and McKaig to UNM!