The Military and Civilian staff of the University of Nebraska NROTC take pride in every individual that earns a commission through this program. Our mission is officer development and we will do whatever it takes to ensure your success.
Captain Richard E. Thomas
Captain Richard Thomas received his Bachelor degree in Chemistry from The Ohio State University in 1987, and was commissioned through The Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program. His initial training included Nuclear Power School in Orlando, FL, Nuclear Prototype training in Balston Spa, N.Y., and the Division Officer course at the Surface Warfare Officers' School in Newport, Rhode Island.
For his initial sea tour, Captain Thomas served in USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) as Machinery Division Officer and Reactor Training Assistant. Following his initial sea tour, he attended The University of Texas, at Austin and earned his Masters degree in Chemistry in 1994.
Upon completion of Department Head training, Captain Thomas served as the Weapons Officer in USS Ticonderoga (CG 47). For his second department head tour he served as Main Propulsion Assistant and Assistant Reactor Officer in USS George Washington (CVN 73). Following his Department Head tours, he served on the staff of the Commander, Naval Surface Forces, Atlantic as a Readiness and Requirements Officer.
Captain Thomas’ next tour was as Executive Officer in USS O'Bannon (DD 987). Following his XO tour, he served as the Chief Staff Officer for Commander, Destroyer Squadron Two-Four. He then served as the Officer in Charge of the Nuclear Propulsion Mobile Training Team and Deputy Force Nuclear Propulsion Officer on the staff of the Commander, Naval Air Forces, Pacific.
Captain Thomas then served as the first Commanding Officer of USS Kidd (DDG 100). Following his command tour, he reported to Carrier Strike Group NINE as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans, and shortly thereafter fleeted up to Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations.
Captain Thomas then served as Surface Operations Officer for Carrier Strike Force Training, Pacific from May 2010 through May 2011. His most recent tour was as the Commanding Officer of the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center in San Diego, California before becoming the Commanding Officer of the University of Nebraska NROTC Unit.
Captain Thomas’ personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Navy Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various unit and campaign awards.
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Commander Mark Stearns
Raised in Buena Vista, Colorado, Commander Mark Stearns received his undergraduate degree in history from the University of Colorado at Boulder and was commissioned through the university’s Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) program. He attended flight school at NAS Pensacola where he was designated a Naval Flight Officer before reporting to VAQ-129, the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS), at NAS Whidbey Island for flight training in the EA-6B Prowler.
For his initial sea tour, Commander Stearns served as the Aircraft Division Officer and Quality Assurance Officer in VAQ-133 where he made deployments to Iwakuni, Japan and Incirlik, Turkey in support of Operation Northern Watch. Following his initial sea tour, he returned to VAQ-129 where he served as an EA-6B instructor and the Quality Assurance Officer.
Commander Stearns completed his Disassociated Sea tour aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln where he served as a Tactical Action Officer (TAO) during her extended deployment in support of Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
For his Department Head tour, Commander Stearns served as the Operations Officer in VAQ-138 where he deployed with Carrier Air Wing Nine aboard USS Carl Vinson in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Following his Department Head tour, he attended the Naval War College where he earned his Masters in National Security and Strategic Studies.
Commander Stearns completed his Joint tour at US Strategic Command where he served as the Commander’s and Deputy Commander’s Nuclear Strike Advisor. His most recent tour was as the Force Protection Officer for Carrier Strike Group Nine where he again deployed aboard USS Abraham Lincoln in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Commander Stearns’ personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (three awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards) and various unit and campaign awards.
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Captain A. W. Trout
Marine Officer Instructor
Captain A.W. Trout was raised in Waverly, Nebraska. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1995. After serving four years as an infantryman he attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he earned a Bachelors of Journalism in December 2003. He received his commission on March 26 2004. He graduated from The Basic School in October 2004. He was designated as a Naval Aviator in September 2006. He completed his UH-1N flight training with HMLAT-303 in April 2007. He served with HMLA-167 aboard MCAS New River until August 2011. He then served until May 2013 as the 2dMAW H-1 Flight Leadership Standardization Evaluator Program Coordinator at Marine Aviation Training Systems Site New River.
Captain Trout deployed twice as an enlisted infantryman to Okinawa with 2nd Battalion 7th Marine Regiment as part of the Unit Deployment Program. He also deployed twice with HMLA-167 in support of Operation Iraqi freedom in 2008 and 2009.
Captain Trout is a 2009 graduate of Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One’s Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course. He also served as an augment instructor for that course on three occasions. He is a 2010 graduate of Expeditionary Warfare School (non-resident). Captain Trout’s personal awards include the Air Medal (3rd award), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2nd award), and the Good Conduct Medal.
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Lieutenant Jeff Scheidt
Naval Officer Instructor
Lieutenant Jeff Scheidt was raised in Fresno, CA. After high school graduation, he enlisted in the United States Navy and completed the Naval Nuclear Power Program’s enlisted training. In 2002, he was selected for the Seaman-to-Admiral 21 commissioning program. He attended the University of Washington, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics and a Bachelor of Science in Astronomy.
Lieutenant Scheidt completed the Naval Nuclear Power Program’s officer training, then reported to the USS Nebraska, SSBN-739, Blue Crew, stationed in Bangor, WA. He served as the Electrical Assistant, Main Propulsion Assistant, and Communications Officer while completing five Strategic Deterrent Patrols. He then served as a Detainee Affairs Operations Officer at US Central Command, in Tampa, FL.
He reported to the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, University of Nebraska, as the Submarine Advisor, in March 2011. His personal awards include the Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards), Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
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Lieutenant Robert Berry
Naval Officer Instructor
Raised in Bend, Oregon, Lieutenant Robert Berry enlisted in the Navy in January 2002. He attended Electronics Technician “A” school in Great Lakes, Illinois and completed his first tour onboard USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) based out of Yokosuka Japan. Upon completion of his four-year tour he selected for orders as a Naval instructor at TRIDENT Training Facility in Bangor, Washington.
Utilizing his nights and weekends, Lieutenant Berry earned his Bachelors degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and was selected for Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island.
For his initial sea tour, Lieutenant Berry served as the Electrical Officer and Communications Officer onboard USS LASSEN (DDG 82) forward deployed to 7th Fleet in support of Freedom of Navigation and Regional Presence Operations. While onboard Lieutenant Berry Qualified as Officer of the Deck, Engineering Officer of the Watch, and Surface Warfare Officer.
Hand selected as the Navigator onboard USS CURTIS WILBUR (DDG 54), Lieutenant Berry crossed the pier to join 7th Fleets oldest and longest serving Destroyer. As Navigator he took the ship to South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Guam, Hokkaido, and Okinawa.
Lieutenant Berry’s personal awards include the Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards), Good Conduct Medal, Expert Rifle, Expert Pistol, and various unit and campaign awards.
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Master Sergeant Adam K. Criswell
Assistant Marine Officer Instructor
Master Sergeant Criswell enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1992 and completed recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California during February 1993. Following recruit training; Private First Class Criswell attended Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton, California and then Utilities Instruction Company at Courthouse Bay, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Upon completion, he was assigned the MOS (1161), Refrigeration Mechanic and promoted to Lance Corporal in May 1993.
Lance Corporal Criswell reported to Marine Wing Support Squadron – 274, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina in May 1993 as a Refrigeration Mechanic. He was promoted to the rank of Corporal February 1994 and attended Non-Commissioned Officer School “Corporal’s School”.
Corporal Criswell was then transferred to Marine Wing Support Squadron – 171, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan in September of 1995 as a Refrigeration Mechanic. Deployed to Thailand for Cobra Gold 96’. Promoted to Sergeant May of 1996 and attended Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy “Sergeant’s Course” on Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan. Upon his return to Iwakuni, Japan, Sergeant Criswell served as the Platoon Sergeant for the Utilities Platoon.
Sergeant Criswell was then transferred to Marine Air Support Squadron – 1, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina in August of 1996 as a Refrigeration Mechanic. Sergeant Criswell served as the Utilities Chief from August 1996 to September 1997 and then as the Motor Transport and Utilities Platoon Sergeant from September 1997 to June of 1999. Sergeant Criswell received his Heating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Journeyman’s license. Sergeant Criswell then served as the Platoon Sergeant and deployed to Norway for Strong Resolve 98’.
Sergeant Criswell was then transferred to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, SC for Drill Instructor Duty. Promoted to Staff Sergeant December of 1999. Assigned to Third Recruit Training Battalion, Mike Company as a Drill Instructor for three platoons and then as a Senior Drill Instructor for two platoons and then a Series Gunnery Sergeant for two series of platoons. After Staff Sergeant Criswell successfully completed seven straight cycles he was assigned as the Company Operations Chief. Staff Sergeant Criswell attended the Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy “Career Course” in March of 2002 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Staff Sergeant Criswell was then transferred after a successful tour as a Drill Instructor to 9th Engineer Support Battalion, Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan in December of 2002. Staff Sergeant Criswell attended the Utilities Chief’s Course at Courthouse Bay, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in January of 2003. Staff Sergeant Criswell deployed to Australia for CROC 03’ as the Staff Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge. Staff Sergeant Criswell then served as the Engineer Company Gunnery Sergeant from December of 2003 to June of 2005. Staff Sergeant Criswell deployed to Sri-Lanka in January of 2005 as the detachment Gunnery Sergeant in support of the relief and clean-up effort after the tsunami.
Staff Sergeant Criswell then was transferred to Marine Wing Support Squadron – 273, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina in August of 2005. Promoted to Gunnery Sergeant September of 2005. Gunnery Sergeant Criswell’s MOS (1161), Refrigeration Mechanic changed to the feeder MOS (1169), Utilities Chief. Gunnery Sergeant Criswell served as the Utilities Chief. In January 2006 Gunnery Sergeant Criswell was assigned to the billet of the Engineer Company First Sergeant. While the Engineer Company First Sergeant Gunnery Sergeant Criswell deployed to Al-Asad and Al Qa’im, with-in the Al-Anbar Province of Iraq for OIF 05-7. Gunnery Sergeant Criswell attended the Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy “Advanced Course” in June of 2007 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Gunnery Sergeant Criswell then was transferred to the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina Corporal School. Gunnery Sergeant Criswell served as the Staff Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge from August of 2007 to September 2008. Gunnery Sergeant Criswell then was transferred to Marine Air Communication Squadron – 2, Detachment Alpha aboard Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort South Carolina. Gunnery Sergeant Criswell served as the Utilities Chief from September 2008 to June of 2009. Promoted to Master Sergeant (Frocked) June 2009.
Master Sergeant Criswell then was transferred to Northern Camps Facilities Maintenance Branch, Facilities Engineer Division, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Okinawa, Japan. Master Sergeant Criswell served as the Staff Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge and Operations Chief of the northern camps of Okinawa, Japan from August 2009 to May of 2012.
In June of 2012 Master Sergeant Criswell then was transferred to the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps Battalion, University of Nebraska and serves in his current billet of the Assistant Marine Officer Instructor.
Master Sergeant Criswell’s awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal X 3, Navy Unit Commendation X 3, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation X 3, Good Conduct Medal X 6, National Defense Medal X 2, Marine Corps Volunteer Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Sea Service Deployment X 4, Navy and Marine Corps Overseas X 3Drill Instructor, Certificate of Commendation X 3, Meritorious Mast, Letter of Appreciation X 3.
Master Sergeant Criswell was married to Courtney Elizabeth Criswell in February 1993 and they have three children Matthew, Madison, and Stella Criswell. Master Sergeant Criswell and his wife are Purdue University Parents.
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