Major Roman Ortega Jr. was recently named as the new chair of the Department of Military Science. With more than thirteen years of military service, he comes to Olivet as a U.S. Army officer specializing in military intelligence-counter terrorism.
During his career, he has served with the Illinois National Guard and was deployed to Iceland in 2001. He also served as a platoon leader with the Army’s 35th Infantry Division, Kankakee, Ill., and with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Irwin, Calif. He completed one deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
With the 3rd U.S. Infantry, stationed in Fort Myer, Va., he served as an intelligence officer and rear detachment commander of the President of the United States Honor Guard. At Fort Sheridan, Ill., he was with the U.S. Army Reserve as a military intelligence officer working with Special Operations Command.
After pursuing a civilian career with Kraft Foods Global, the world’s largest bakery, Chicago, he returned to active duty as assistant professor of military science at Wheaton College (Ill.) and director of military science at Lewis University, Romeoville, Ill. While at Lewis University and Wheaton College he was promoted early to the rank of Major, a promotion reserved for the top 4 percent of his peers.
His military awards and decorations include: the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (Gold), Ranger Tab, Airborne Badge, Air Assault Badge, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and is Rappel Master certified.
Other distinguished awards he has received are The Dean’s Award at Northern Illinois University (2003) and Lewis University’s Faculty of the Month Award (2011). He is multi-lingual, speaking fluent Spanish, as well as some Arabic and Mandarin.
“Major Ortega brings a wealth of both military and business experience to his new assignment at Olivet,” said Dr. Dennis Crocker, dean of the School of Professional Studies. “Our military science students and our ROTC Roaring Tiger Battalion will benefit from his leadership strengths. We are looking forward to the impact he will have on our program and his contributions in growing our students into outstanding leaders.”
As chair, Major Ortega leads the Department of Military Science, managing a staff of ten as well as the ROTC recruiting program. He also teaches courses in junior officer leadership and military science leadership.
Graduating in 2003 from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Ill., he holds a bachelor’s degree in criminology and recognition, and was a distinguished military graduate. Currently, he is in the master’s of business administration degree program at Lewis University, with a concentration in international relations and finance.
A native of Plainfield, Ill., he is a graduate of Plainfield High School. He and his wife, Julie, are the parents of a daughter, Halie, and a son, Roman.