NMMI President and Superintendent, Major General Jerry W. Grizzle (USA Retired), announced today, that LTC Jonathan K. Graff Jr. (USA Retired) will become NMMI’s newest Commandant of Cadets and Dean of Students. LTC Graff currently serves as the Military Services Academies Prep Director and will assume his new position effective 1 July, 2015.
Major General Grizzle said “Today we salute the outstanding results of the Search & Selection Committee. This diverse committee consisted of a former Commandant and Alumnus and current State Secretary, a former Corps of Cadets Regimental Commander and current President of the NMMI Board of Regents, a former State Senator and Alumnus, the President of the Faculty Senate, The Dean of Academics, The High School Principal, The Athletic Director, the NMMI Chief of Staff, a Deputy Commandant and Junior College Head Volleyball Coach. The extensive hours spent reviewing back ground information, interviewing candidates and ultimately recommending a final group to be interviewed by the Superintendent, was not an easy task. Once I finished my interviews, I knew without any doubt that LTC Graff needed to be the next Commandant of NMMI. LTC Graff is the right choice to ensure that NMMI will continue with our mission to educate, train, and prepare young men and women to be leaders capable of critical thinking and sound analysis, leaders who possess uncompromising character, and leaders able to meet challenging physical demands.”
LTC Jon Graff assumes the position of Commandant after serving for nearly 4 years as a principal staff member. Graff started his NMMI career as the Chief Operating Officer/Professor of Military Science and Leadership, and then served as the current NMMI Service Academy Prep Director. His background will provide the New Mexico Military Institute a diverse and decorated representation of the pillar of excellence NMMI must have in such a vital position. LTC Graff is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY and brings 23 years of Military Service in the U.S. Army to his title. Graff has served in a variety of positions over his career around the country and overseas. His assignments included duties as a rifle platoon leader, company executive officer, company commander, battalion operations officer, executive officer, and battalion commander. He was one of three captains in the Army selected for an Olmsted Scholarship for the class of 2000 and studies at the Technical University of Dresden in Dresden, Germany. He has deployed overseas in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
“I feel honored and humbled to be among the officers selected to train NMMI’s future leaders,” said LTC Jon Graff. “We have tremendously capable cadets in the Corps, and I am looking forward to leading them in their journey to become better leaders.”
Lieutenant Colonel Jon Graff is a 1991 graduate of the United States Military Academy and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army as an Infantry Officer.
LTC Graff’s assignment history is as follows. His first assignment was with 2/325 Airborne (ABN) Infantry (IN) Battalion (BN), 2nd Brigade (BDE), 82nd ABN Division (DIV) at Fort Bragg, NC where he served as a Rifle Platoon Leader, Rifle Company Executive Officer (XO) and Anti-Armor Company XO. LTC Graff’s next assignment was with 2nd Squadron (SQDN), 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Irwin, CA where he served as the SQDN Assistant Operations Officer (A-S3), SQDN Adjutant (S1), and Commander for Hotel Company and Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (HHT), 2nd SQDN. After his command, LTC Graff was one of three US Army Captains selected to receive an Olmsted Scholarship and studied at the Technical University of Dresden in Dresden, Germany for one year. His next assignment was with the 2nd Simulations Exercise Group, 75th DIV at Fort Sill, OK where he served as the Senior Maneuver Trainer and Deputy Task Force Commander training Regimental, Group and Brigade staffs within 5th US Army for deployment. Following graduation from the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS, LTC Graff deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq as the BDE Supply Officer, (S4) for the 2nd BDE, 25th Infantry Division. He then served as the BN Operations Officer (S3) and XO for the 1st BN, 27th IN BN, Wolfhounds, at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii during their transition from a Light Infantry BDE to a Stryker BDE. LTC Graff was then selected to be the Aide de Camp for the Commanding General, US Army, and Pacific. After completing duty in Hawaii, LTC Graff was selected to command the 1st BN, 310th IN at Fort Bragg where he trained Provincial Reconstruction Teams for deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. LTC Graff reported for duty as the Professor of Military Science for New Mexico Military Institute ROTC in May 2011.
LTC Graff is a graduate of Ranger School, Airborne School, Jump Master School, Pathfinder School, the Bradley Leaders Course, the Basic and Advanced Infantry Officers Courses and the US Army Command and General Staff Officer College. LTC Graff has a Bachelors Degree in Russian Language Masters Degree in General Military Studies from the Command and General Staff College. He has the standard awards and decorations expected of an officer with a 23 year career. He is married to the former Sandra (Sandi) Thrower from Rockingham, NC and they have six children: Kirk, Caleb, Jonah, Keri, Annika and Jason.
NMMI Sports Press
For their first year running track in AAAA, the Colts didn’t do too badly.
While Portales ran away with the title with 118 points, NMMI finished second on its home track, the Wool Bowl, compiling 68 points through 19 events.
“The kids ran well,” said coach Randy Montoya. “It’s just a tribute to our kids. They’ve been working had all year and I’m happy for them. We’ve got a few more kids who qualified for state, so again, to be able to go into a hard district and do what we do, it’s been very nice.”
Senior Dominic Moore gave the Colts the most points, winning the 100-meter dash; running the third leg of the first-place medley relay; taking second in the long jump; and anchoring the third place 4×100.
“He’s a senior,” Montoya said. “I wish I had him for one more year. He’s just a hard, tough-nosed kid. He does anything and everything we ask of him. He’s just a great kid. I’m glad he was able to do what he was able to do this year.”
Other Institute gold medalists included Daniel Marquez in the 200 and Carlos Xibille in the triple jump.
The Lady Colts had a tougher day, but with only a handful of athletes, still picked up 13 points.
“We just don’t have the numbers,” Montoya said. “The girls we do have they compete well. They do everything they can; everything we ask of them. It’s just we don’t have that many to choose from.”
They were led by sophomore Sierra Walker, who took second in the 400-meter dash and anchored what had to be the most exciting race of the day.
That race, for both the girls and boys, was the 1,600-meter medley relay.
In the girls race, NMMI was a distant third after both 200-meter legs and the 400-meter lap. But Sierra Walker never gave up, pushing her way past the second-place Ruidoso runner and while she couldn’t catch the East Mountain leader, she stretched her lead over the now third-place runner to give the Lady Colts a ticket to state.
The boys side wasn’t quite as exciting, but the Institute was in second place heading into the 800-meter lap. Spencer Lane took the baton, quickly passed the leader and stretched his way to a first-place finish.
Montoya had praise for both anchor runners in the relays.
“(Sierra’s) just been tough all year,” he said. “We’ve got some great runners in our district from East Mountain and all that, so it’s good for her to compete like that.”
As for Lane, “He came through tough and strong,” the coach said. “He’s just one of those kids you put a challenge in front of him, he accepts that challenge and does everything he can to succeed at that challenge and obviously he saw that there in the medley, so he did a great job.”
NMMI was competing in a much tougher district than in the past, but Montoya was proud of what his teams did.
“It is obviously a tougher district. We’ve got some good quality teams. The kids have just done a good job of competing and doing the best they can.”
NMMI results from the District 4-4A track meet
Boys, team — 1, Portales, 118; 2, NMMI, 68; East Mountain, 58; 4, Ruidoso, 43
100-meter dash — 1, Dominic Moore, 10.9; 3, Homero Melis, 11.31
200-meter dash — 1, Daniel Marquez, 22.65; 4, Tymon Dalton, 24.34; 10 (tie), Lane Major, Fausto Baranzini, 25.55
400-meter dash — 3, Daniel Marquez, 52.587, 7, Giovani Borunda, 56.24
110-meter hurdles — 5, Trent Foster, 19.08; 6, Drake Williams, 21.08
300-meter hurdles — 7, Trent Foster, 49.37; 10, Nathan Hudgeons, 54.14
800-meter run — 7, Joshua Pinon, 2:19.40
1,600-meter run — 2, Juan Estramadoyro, 4:39.84
3,200-meter run — 2, Juan Estremadoyro, 10:45.44; 3, Fernando Rodriguez, 11:53.14; 4, Benjamin Clemens, 12:18.84; 7, Kristian Gonzalez, 12:58.74
4×100-meter relay — 3, NMMI (Daniel Marquez, Homero Melis, Tymon Dalton, Dominic Moore), 44.99
4×200-meter relay — 3, NMMI (Homero Melis, Carlos Xibile, Fausto Baranzini, Tymon Dalton), 1:38.65
4×400-meter medley relay — 1, NMMI (Daniel Marquez, Fausto Baranzini, Dominic Moore, Spencer Lane), 3:44.02
4×400-meter relay — 3, NMMI (Fausto Baranzini, Giovani BOrunda, Spencer Lane, Carlos Xibile), 3:47.94
Pole Vault — 4, Lane Major, 9-6
Discus — 4, Christian Taylor, 94-7; 5, Nathan Hudgeons, 93-10 1/2; 6, Joe Bridges, 89-11 1/2; 10, Dillion Hall, 60-3 1/2
Shot Put — 6, Joe Bridges, 30-06; 7, Drake Williams, 29-04; 9, Dillion Hall, 24 1/2
Javelin — 9, David Gofman, 98-7 1/2; Christian Taylor, 92-10 1/2; 12, Jonathan Stokes, 92-5 1/2; 13, Nathan Hudgens, 84-9; 14, Dillion Hall, 77-2 1/2
Long jump — 2, Dominic Moore, 19-2; 10, Giovani, Borunda, 15-7
Triple jump — 1, Carlos Xibille, 37-10; 4, Tymon Dalton, 33-6; 5, Juan Larrieu, 32-00
High jump — 2, Homero Melis, 5-04
Girls, team — 1, Ruidoso, 137; 2, Portales, 88; 3, East Mountain, 41; 4, NMMI, 13
200-meter dash — 9, Krystal Graves, 29.37
400-meter dash — 2, Sierra Walker, 1:01.27
100-meter hurdles — 8, Natalie Holnes, 24.43
300-meter hurdles — 10, Natalie Holnes, 58.96
3,200-meter run — 2, Andrea Anchondo, 14:19.44
4×400-meter medley relay — 2, NMMI (Amira Hindi, Alexandria Rivera, Krystal Graves, Sierra Walker), 4:45.24
1,600-meter run — 5, Amira Hindi, 6:11.93
Discus — 9, Alexandria Rivera, 62-11
Javelin — 9, Natalie Holnes, 69-1
Long jump — 12, Grace Tompkins, 12-00
People often ask me why I decided to attend NMMI and why I chose to leave my house and my country at the age of 15. I decided to attend NMMI because it would provide me with the best academic success, along with an unforgettable experience of being part of a military environment. When I decided to leave my home, I was not sure if NMMI was the right place for me; however, after attending the Institute for almost three years, I know I made the right choice. NMMI has prepared me for my further education and for the rest of my life. Also, NMMI has provided me with opportunities that would seem impossible if I had decided to stay in Mexico. I am certain that attending NMMI was the right choice and has given me great experienced and lifelong friendships.
One of the great things about New Mexico Military Institute is their ability and readiness to prepare their cadets for any situation. In the military, situational awareness is a necessity of one’s every day actions, and this was exemplified in NMMI’s active shooter drill, and their tornado response plan for hazardous weather. The institute had a number of cadets volunteer for the drill as fake “victims” if there ever was an active shooter on campus, and had the NMMI police as well as Roswell PD and the Roswell Fire Department respond to the incident. The drill went smoothly and was made as realistic as possible to ensure professionalism and thoroughness.
Additionally, not long after the conclusion of the active shooter drill, NMMI had to react to a hazardous weather alert. Due to tornado activity in the area, and the forming of multiple funnel clouds, cadets, faculty and staff were required to evacuate and move below ground into the trunk rooms and basements of the buildings. This was done quickly and orderly and each cadet was kept safe during the time the alert was in effect. The drills NMMI conducts as well as their response to unplanned hazardous conditions are just one of the ways New Mexico Military Institute keeps their cadets safe.