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NMSU student reflects on military past 

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NMSU student reflects on military past 

Zack Rose has returned from a tour in Afghanistan to be a student at NMSU.

Zack Rose has returned from a tour in Afghanistan to be a student at NMSU.

Zack Rose has returned from a tour in Afghanistan to be a student at NMSU.

Zack Rose has returned from a tour in Afghanistan to be a student at NMSU.

Most of us have heard the phrase, “looks can be deceiving,” and “don’t judge a book by its cover.”

It’s an important mindset to have when interacting with strangers, but also a wise choice when sitting in class lectures or studying at the library, because you just never know who might be sitting next to you. Perhaps it’s the next Vincent van Gogh, or the next Eleanor Roosevelt, or maybe it’s the person who sacrificed their life so you could live yours freely.  

Zack Rose is a student at New Mexico State University, and this fall marks his third year studying at the campus. Inspired by his family members within the law enforcement field, he selected his major with them in mind and is specializing his studies in Criminal Justice. When you see Rose, you’re met with black framed glasses and a bashful grin. What you don’t see though, is the story that goes along with him. 

Rose grew up in Los Angeles, California. When he was in high school, he joined the Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (JROTC), which first sparked his interest in joining the armed forces. On May 27, 2014, Rose took his first step into the journey of the rest of his life. That was the day he enlisted into the military. He chose to serve his country and dedicate himself to the Army. 

“After doing JROTC in high school, I knew that I wanted to go to the Army,” Rose said. “It became a passion and I was ready.”  

Memories of his first few days still burned clearly in his mind, he said. 

“My first day in the service was sort of what I expected – harsh,” Rose said. “Although, I remember some of the things being awkward. We had to bear hug our bags and run with them. I have really vivid memories of that oddly.” 

He was stationed out of Fort Bliss where coincidentally, was met with his friend from high school who joined shortly after him. Though they were in two separate units, their friendship grew stronger than before and are still in contact with one another.  

“Friendships like that really help you get through it,” Rose said.  

Despite his important friendships, Rose said his motivation to overcome the toughest times came from a deeper, more personal motive. 

“My baby brother kept me going,” he said. “I know he looks up to me, so I would constantly have him on my mind, it would push me, I didn’t want to give up because of him.” 

While in the Army, Rose did one tour in Afghanistan.  

“I had a special ritual that I would do any time we went out to the field and especially when we went to Afghanistan.” 

The different atmosphere from his life prior to the military influenced Rose’s ability to adapt once he left for his tour. 

“It was a culture shock. I was coming from LA, I lived the city life and then I came to the desert. It took a while to get used to it,” Rose said. 

Rose reflected on his past in the Army and explained his feelings throughout his military career.  

“I remember praying every day that I would come home alive and nothing would happen to any of us,” he said. “It was always a worry if we would come back alright.” 

During his time with the military, Rose worked as a mechanic. This allowed him to spend more time outside and with his fellow soldiers. 

“I actually had a lot of fun times in the army, I’m looking to go back after I finish school,” he said.  

Though there are many reasons people decide to join the military, Rose said the pride he has for this country is why he believes service members do what they do. 

“We’re out there because we love our country, we love the people that are here so we sacrifice our life every day for those people – just to keep this country free.” 

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About the Writer
Krysta Quinonez, Feature Writer

Krysta Quinonez is a Las Cruces local who is entering her senior year at New Mexico State University. She is a graduate from Las Cruces High School where...

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NMSU student reflects on military past