Great instructors make great leaders
SFA’s ROTC and military science instructors have had lengthy military careers, and they are ready to help Lumberjacks develop the leadership skills and discipline they need to succeed in college and beyond. As an ROTC cadet, you’ll work with decorated military veterans who have decades of active duty experience and educational backgrounds in fields like law enforcement, business and military science.
Major James Attaway
Professor and Department Chair
Maj. James Attaway is the SFA ROTC professor of military science. Originally from Quitman, Texas, he enlisted in the Army an as infantryman in 1998. Upon completion of training at Fort Benning, Georgia, Attaway was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. While in the 82nd Airborne Division, he served until 2001 and attained the rank of sergeant. In summer of 2001, Major Attaway begin studying at SFA. In May 2004, he commissioned as a distinguished military graduate and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology.
Attaway then attended aviation basic officer leader course and flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama. His operational assignments as an officer have been in the following units: 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), 2nd Infantry Division, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence, and the United States Army Human Resources Command.
Attaway is a graduate of Ranger School, Airborne School, Air Assault School, Joint Firepower Course, Maneuver Captain’s Career Course, and the Command and General Staff College.
Attaway has deployed to Kosovo, Iraq, Korea and Afghanistan. He currently resides in Central Heights where he lives with his wife, Shauna, and two children, Daisy and James IV.
First Lieutenant Mariko Badders
First Lieutenant Mariko Badders began her military career as an SMP cadet serving in the North Carolina National Guard in 2010. She later received her commission as a distinguished military graduate from Wake Forest University. She subsequently joined the Texas National Guard where she began working as a gold bar recruiter for the University of Houston. Upon completion of Adjutant General Basic Officer Leaders Course at Fort Jackson, South Carolina she served as a Battalion S1. In 2014, she switched from the National Guard to the Army Reserve to begin working as an aide de camp to 75th Training Command's Deputy Commanding General. In 2016, she moved from Houston to Nacogdoches and began her position as an Assistant Professor of Military Science for the Lumberjack Battalion. Badders continues to serve in the Army Reserves and is a full-time attorney in the civilian sector.
Her decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Achievement Metal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.
Master Sergeant Raul Cantu
Senior Military Instructor
Master Sergeant Raul Cantu is from Gatesville, Texas, and he enlisted in the Army as an infantryman on January 3rd, 2001. Upon completion of One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Georgia, he was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served until 2008. He then served as a Ranger instructor at 4th Ranger Training Battalion at Fort Benning until 2011.
His follow-on assignment was to Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, where he served until 2014 as a platoon sergeant. He then returned to Fort Benning and served as a company first sergeant in 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division and Task Force 1-28 Infantry.
He is a graduate of Ranger School, Airborne School, Jumpmaster School, Basic Leaders Course, Advanced Leaders Course, Senior Leaders Course, First Sergeant/Company Commander Pre-Command Course and the Emergency Medical Technician Basic Course.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with one Silver Leaf Cluster, Parachutist Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Combat Infantryman Badge and Ranger Tab. He has deployed to Afghanistan twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and to Iraq twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has a bachelor's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Military University.
Major Mai Lee Eskelund
Executive Officer/Assistant Professor
Maj. Mai Lee Eskelund is the assistant professor of military science and executive officer. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and commissioned in 2003 as a branch detailed chemical officer. Her first duty station was with 1/6th Cavalry, an Apache Squadron in Wonju, South Korea. After completing the signal transition course, Eskelund was assigned to I CORP at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington. She was responsible for the only signal platoon the G6 supported and deployed with 22nd MP BN as an S6, and completed Company Command with 51st Signal Battalion.
After graduating from the Command and General Staff College, Eskelund deployed as a signal executive officer with the 25th Signal Battalion and Regimental S6 with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas, prior to moving to Nacogdoches as cadre for the SFA ROTC program.
Eskelund has deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea. She is a foodie and a world traveler, who claims Woodcreek, Texas as her home. She is pursuing a second master’s degree in counseling for her career after the Army.
Sergeant McKinley McBride
Sergeant McKinley McBride was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, where he enlisted into the Active Army March 2003 and then attended basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. McBride has been assigned to the 2nd Armored Calvary Regiment, Fort Polk, Louisiana; the 287th Military Police Company, Fort Riley, Kansas; and 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
McBride has had five deployments: three to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 1, 2 and 3; one to Kandahar, Afghanistan, at COP Shurendam in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from 2012 to 2013; and he completed his last deployment to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, before reporting to SFA’s Department of Military Science.
McBride's military awards and decorations include Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Oversees Service Ribbon, ISAF NATO Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.
Sergeant First Class Jose Rendon
Instructor/Human Resources Technician
Sergeant First Class Jose Rendon is from San Antonio, Texas. He enlisted in the Army as an infantryman on January 26, 2002. Upon completion of One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Georgia, he was assigned to 1st of the 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, where he served until 2009. He then served as an instructor at 7th Army NCO Academy Grafenwohr, Germany, until 2012.
His follow-on assignment was 3rd BDE 1ST ID, where he served until 2014 as a platoon sergeant. He then returned to Vilseck, Germany, where he served as CUOP NCOIC and a platoon sergeant.
He is a graduate of Battle Staff, Air Assault School, Master Resilience Trainer, Basic Leaders Course, Advanced Leaders Course and Senior Leaders Course.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with two Bronze Leaf Clusters, Expert Infantryman Badge, Combat Infantryman Badge and Air Assault Badge. He has deployed to Afghanistan once in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and to Iraq twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of SFOR 11.
Human Resources Technician
James Brown's military career began on December 15, 1987, at basic training in Great Lakes, Illinois. In February 1988, he started his training pipeline at Basic Submarine A and C schools in Groton, Connecticut. Brown was stationed at Charleston, South Carolina; Kings Bay, Georgia; and Point Loma, San Diego, California. He served over 10 years in the U.S. Navy as a submarine radioman onboard three submarines and as a Navy recruiter.
Upon leaving the Navy, Brown worked for Texas Instruments in Houston, Texas and then Texaco and Shell in Bellaire, Texas as a network operations specialist. In 2008, Brown began working at Sam Houston State University's Army ROTC as the human resources assistant until 2014. He then transferred to Denver, Colorado to work with 8th Marine Corps Recruiting District, Officer Selection Office as a human resources assistant for three years. He then transferred to SFA in December 2017, working with the Military Science Department as the human resources technician.
Samuel Gardner served over 20 years in the U.S. Army and retired as a sergeant first class. His military career began in October 1976, when he enlisted in the regular Army as a wuartermaster supply specialist. He attended basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Lee, Virginia.
Gardner has served in numerous army units including the 1st and 15th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division (Kitzingen and Schweinfurt, Germany), 1st and 87th Infantry (Baumholder, Germany), 1st Cavalry Division (Fort Hood, Texas) and the 9th Area Finance Group, 9th Infantry Division (Fort Lewis, Washington). He also served as the Supply Sergeant with the 4th ROTC Brigade, Fort Lewis, Washington assigned to Washington State University. Gardner has made several deployments including Operation Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Provide Democracy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Mr. Gardner retired at the Presidio of San Francisco, California. Immediately upon retirement, Mr. Gardner began work with the Workforce Solutions of East Texas and Veterans Commission as the veteran employment representative serving numerous East Texas counties for nine years. Prior to coming to SFA, he was a federal employee at Alcorn State University in Mississippi.
Gardner's decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with six Oak Leaf Clusters, the Good Conduct Medal (fifth award), the National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal and the Armed Forces Service Medal with Bronze Star. He is an active member of the American Legion and Veteran of Foreign Wars.
Synetha Griffin began her military career as an enlisted soldier serving in the Mississippi Army National Guard in 1997. She joined the Mississippi State University Army ROTC program as a student, where she earned a degree in history and commissioned as an ordnance officer in 2003.
Griffin’s assignments have been in Mississippi and Florida. She presently serves in the United States Army Reserve. Prior to coming to SFA, she worked as a military science instructor at Jackson State University.
Enrollment Advisor/Recruiting Operations Officer
Kyle Locke began his Army career as an enlisted soldier with the Texas Army National Guard in 2002. He attended basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and completed advanced individual training at the United States Army Signal School at Fort Gordon, Georgia, in 2003 as the distinguished honor graduate. In 2004, SPC Locke deployed to Iraq as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom III with C Battery 1/133rd Field Artillery in Lufkin, Texas. After the 18-month deployment was over, Locke returned to Nacogdoches. He enrolled in SFA where he joined the ROTC program and earned his degree in communications and his commission as a military police officer in 2007. Locke attended and graduated from the Military Police Officer Basic Course in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, in January 2010.
Locke has served in a variety of leadership positions, including platoon leader for the 702nd Military Police Company, rear detachment company commander for HHC 136th Military Police Battalion, executive officer for the 702nd MP Co, operations officer 36ID provost marshall and plans officer for the 101st IO Battalion.
His decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Service Ribbon with M Device and the Adjutant General's Individual Award for service during Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
Sonnie Mosier has served as administrative assistant to the Chair of Military Science since February 1997. She is responsible for supporting the program's students and being a university liaison for the staff. Additionally, she assists new non-SFA faculty and staff with SFA's policies and procedures during in-processing. She also directs the flow of student work in the office, delegating duties as necessary.
Prior to coming to the Department of Military Science, Mosier served as a data input specialist in the data center for the Admissions Office and as a receptionist for the Office of the President.
Mosier has been with the university since August 1994 and has maintained positions that have always included helping people as she worked in the field of higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from SFA.