Senior Michael Krestos was recently awarded the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement Award, making him one of only six students out of 1,000 nominees in the U.S. to receive the honor.
Krestos is the first Naval Reserve Officer Training Command (NROTC) Midshipman from UR to receive this national award.
Krestos felt surprised upon gaining the recognition two weeks ago. “I felt like a deer caught in headlights,” he said. “I knew I was getting something, but I didn’t know what it was.”
Not everyone was quite as shocked though.
“Michael has shown that he can manage a rigorous workload, physical fitness and leadership,” Kyle Thayer, U.S. Navy Lieutenant and Assistant Professor of Naval Science, said. “He is getting the award because of his leadership and potential.”
Krestos’ outstanding grade point average, top physical fitness and overall devotion to his unit over the past three years have been evident in his success so far. Fellow battalion members and staff nominated Krestos months ago to be a candidate for the Bronze Cross for Achievement award. The Legion of Valor organization then screened more than 1,000 nominees all across the country to find ROTC cadets who have demonstrated excellence in military, scholastic and civic affairs.
“He is a relatively reserved leader. He leads by example and has very high standards — for himself and what he expects from others,” Jeff Bartkoski, U.S. Navy Captain and professor of Naval Science, said. “He is unique in that he knows what he wants.”
Currently, Krestos serves as commanding officer of the Charlie Company, one of the four organized military companies at UR. He leads a group of about 15 to 20 midshipmen and is held responsible for that company’s performance. Whether it is helping them in academics or military-related tasks, Krestos is a role model to other midshipmen.
“We look to him to ensure that things get done, and we can confidently give him tasks,” Thayer said. “He utilizes all sorts of tools to make sure that the job gets done properly.”
After graduation, Krestos will attend the Nuclear Power School based in Charleston, S.C. for a year-long nuclear power training and will later deploy to a submarine. With a background in mechanical engineering, Krestos is expected to excel in the training.
“It is always challenging to lead others, but when you are in a position to lead peers, that is even more challenging,” Bartkoski said. “I think that’s a challenge for all of our students, but Michael stands out in the crowd.”
Coming from a military family, Krestos was able to see and experience the lifestyle of multiple dedicated military figures and knew he wanted to continue the tradition. Krestos has a retired Navy Captain father, two Navy nurse sisters, two grandfathers who fought in World War II in the Army and Navy and uncles and cousins who belong to the Marine Corp. and Air Force.
“My family did not push me in one direction. But I knew I was interested in nuclear power,” said Krestos.
His advice to fellow NROTC students?
“Take it as a full-time job and expect to do more than the average student,” he said. “It is an investment — and give back as much as you can.”
Kim is a member of the class of 2013.