Each Fall, in conjunction with their branch selections, Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets throughout the U.S. are ranked in a national Order of Merit List (OML). The OML considers all Army ROTC seniors across the nation who are scheduled to graduate and be commissioned in Spring 2014. This year, Claire L. Yakabe, an Army ROTC cadet at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, has captured the number three spot among 5,478 graduating cadets from across the nation.
Yakabe, a Makiki resident, is scheduled to graduate from UHM in Spring 2014 with a degree in Political Science and a certificate in French. She will be commissioned as an Army Aviation officer.
Yakabe is a “progression cadet,” which means that she enrolled in the UH Army ROTC program during her freshman year. In fact, she won a four-year Army ROTC scholarship to attend UH Mānoa. These scholarships are awarded not only for academic performance and test scores, but also for physical fitness, moral character, and demonstration of leadership in civic and extracurricular activities.
An Advanced Placement student in her Colorado high school, Yakabe was also a four-year member of the golf team (captain in her senior year), involved in theater (head lighting designer), and the commanding lieutenant of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Explorer program.
Since enrolling in ROTC at UH Mānoa, the Honors Program student continues to “lead from the front in everything she does,” according to Major John Carson, a UHM Professor of Military Science.
Yakabe is a member of the unit’s Ranger Challenge team; was a three-year member of the Color Guard; is Vice President of ROTC Affairs for the Association of the United States Army, Hawaiʻi chapter; and participated in a Cultural Understanding (CULP) deployment to Estonia for a summer. A Dean’s List student every semester during her college career, she is also an officer in the Mānoa Pre-Law Association and a member of the Honors Society’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter.
Carson pointed out that, as a progression cadet, Yakabe has been able to develop both academically and in leadership during her time here at UH Mānoa. “Her success brings great credit to this campus, as well as to herself and this ROTC program,” Carson notes. “This University and its Professors need to take a lot of the credit.”
Yakabe is appreciative of her fellow cadets and much support from the University. “It is an honor to be ranked so highly amongst my peers. My goal has always been to support my fellow cadets, the guys on my right and left, by ‘having their back’ and being the best I can be. I want to thank everyone who’s ever had my back, and for helping me to get to where I am today,” she said.
Yakabe is a 2010 graduate of Douglas County High in Colorado. She is the daughter of Lt. Col. Christopher R. Yakabe, U.S. Air Force Reserve, San Francisco, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrea R. Wagner, U.S. Navy Reserve, Castle Rock, Colorado.