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EL PASO—Mission High School and University of Texas-Pan American graduate Lt. Col. Roman J. Cantu recently took over command of the 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment in June at Fort Bliss, which is part of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division. All together, he is in charge of 670 troops.
Cantu graduated from high school in 1989 and graduated from UTPA in 1994. When he graduated from college, he attended the United States Army Armor Officer Basic Course and was eventually deployed to Camp Casey Korea where he worked as a Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer from August 1995 to December 1996.
Once finishing his tour in Korea, Cantu was assigned to Fort Knox, Ken. Where he served as Company Executive Officer of a Basic Training Company from 1996 to 1999. But as the new millennium ushered in, Cantu came back to Texas where he was assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood from 1999 to 2003. While at Fort Hood he held several positions including Brigade Level Assistant S3 (Plans) officer, Company Commander in 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, and the Commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.
In 2003, Cantu was deployed to Germany where he was assigned to the Operations Group, Combat Maneuver Training Center as an Observer/Controller. He held two key positions while in Germany, as a Company Team and Battalion S3 O/C.
Once he completed his tour in Europe, Cantu attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. and was assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armor Division and returned to Germany from 2007 to 2010.
In early February of 2010, Cantu was assigned to the United States Northern Command.
Cantu said in an interview with the Progress Times that USNORTHCOM assists in planning out to about a year in countries in our hemisphere, with primary focus on support to Mexico. They always prepare for natural disasters.
“For each service, there are a limited amount of joint assignments available where all the services come together to work under one command,” he said. “This is one of those assignments. Normally, about five percent of the officers that are eligible are picked to come to these assignments because the Army is working side by side with the Navy and the Air Force. So, the group that gets sent up there are the all stars of the team.”
Cantu’s wife, Patricia, is a former flight attendant with Delta Airlines and since 2003 she has managed the Cantu household, which included multiple transitions from the United States to Germany and Cantu’s deployment to Iraq.
The have two children, Alex, 7, and Evie, 4. Alex loves school, swimming and reading. Evie loves school, reading, artwork and swimming.
Roman is the son of Ralph and Dolores Cantu. Ralph Cantu spent 34 years as an educator in Mission. He retired in1994 as the Superintendent of Schools for Mission. He currently works as a field service representative for the Texas Association of School Boards.
Dolores Cantu spent 35 years as an educator in Mission.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.