Major John Brake
Major John Brake received a bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation and leisure facilities management in 2004, completed the University of West Florida Army ROTC program in 2005 and received a master's degree in physical education in 2007 from UWF. He returned to UWF Army ROTC in 2011 as their recruiting operations officer and continues to perform this job today as a Department of Army civilian. He currently serves in the military with the Florida Army National Guard as the battalion executive officer for the 146th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, based out of Jacksonville, Florida. His unit recently returned from a 12-month mobilization to Kuwait supporting Operation Spartan Shield. The primary mission was to provide a wide range of tactical and strategic communications support across multiple countries within the U.S. Central Command’s Area of Responsibility.
What motivated you to be a part of the UWF Army ROTC program?
I initially wanted to join the military right out of high school, but I received an athletic and academic scholarship to run cross-country at UWF my senior year of high school. After receiving the scholarships I made a promise to my mother that I would at least give college a try before entering the military. While running cross-country on campus, I would always see a group of individuals working out, running and singing cadence early in the mornings. This was the UWF Army ROTC program conducting their morning physical fitness sessions. I loved watching their camaraderie and teamwork and just wanted to be a part of it. After asking a few questions I was sold. I could complete my college degree and enter the Army as a commissioned officer through ROTC. It was a win-win for me.
Tell us about your typical day as a recruiting operations officer.
As the recruiting operations officer for UWF’s Army ROTC program I am responsible for the enrollment and scholarship processing for incoming cadets. On a typical day you can find me telling my Army story to current UWF students, high schoolers and active/prior military members. I love telling them how I got it all started at UWF.
What has your time at UWF taught you?
UWF taught me responsibility and perseverance. As a young adult at UWF I was ultimately responsible for all my successes and failures. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by individuals who were like minded and had the same goals as I did. When we failed we picked each other up and had the perseverance to keep going because we saw the individuals before us succeed.