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January 2023

Correa channels sports leadership to Army service

When the Army released its new “Decide to Lead” campaign this fall, it included a familiar face to the Wayland family.

1st Lt. Romen Correa was featured in the campaign that aims to inspire future leaders and encourage them to pursue officership, a specialized path of service for aspiring leaders. The marketing campaign is a push to increase the number of young people who commission as officers in the Army and to grow the diversity of Army leadership.

Correa was an ideal choice because he fits the Army’s desired profile 

Correa in uniform
Correa with citation

for an officer: he chose the traditional college path and used his degree from Wayland to propel into officer candidacy. But the path wasn’t super straight-forward.

“Being in the Army was something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been a leader in sports and academics and I felt the Army was a great path for me,” said Correa, who is currently stationed in Washington at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and works as an all-source military intelligence officer. “I wanted to make it a career, 100%.”

A native of Victorville, Calif., Correa was taking a gap year after high school when he was recruited by then-Wayland wrestling coach Johnny Cobb to bring his talents to the mat at Wayland. While he hadn’t really considered collegiate sports, he took Cobb up on the invitation to visit the Texas campus and decided Wayland was where he belonged.

“When Coach Cobb found me, he sold me on the environment that Wayland had and the camaraderie of those there. I met my future teammates and loved the school, so I committed,” notes Correa who enrolled in 2013 and earned his Bachelor of Arts in justice administration in 2017.

Correa’s girlfriend at the time, Jessica Harlan, was playing soccer for a junior college in California and she agreed to make the journey to Plainview with him. She suited up for the Pioneer Soccer

Correa family
Jessica & Romen and family

squad during her time here while Correa hit the wrestling mat with the successful Wayland program. Jessica completed her bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science in 2015, and she is currently a stay-at-home-mom to the couple’s two young sons, Elijah and Jeremiah.

Correa said his desire to serve was what really propelled him to the Army, and he felt the parallels were strong between military service and his athletics background.

“Coming from doing sports my whole life and being physically challenged, this has given me back the rhythm of challenging myself both physically and mentally. Wrestling gave me a chance to work with people from all over the country and be under one team, and that’s what I loved about it,” notes Correa. “In leadership roles, you have the ability to influence to motivate people below you and next to you to be better and that’s what we did at Wayland. And that’s what we’re doing here in the Army.”

The Correas headed back to California after earning their degrees and got into the workforce. But Correa admits he was bored behind a desk and that itch to serve grew stronger. He told Jessica he was ready for the commitment and enlisted in the Army in Victorville in 2018. Following basic training in Fort Jackson, he was sent to Officer Candidacy School in Fort Benning, Ga., to

Correa at WBU graduation
Correa at WBU graduation

commission as an officer.

While he’s enjoying being part of the intelligence group and serving his country, Correa says he doesn’t plan to stop improving his skills.

“My short-term goals are to attend some elite schools for training to help build certain skills for my job,” he said, noting the Army has many opportunities for officers to help soldiers grow personally and professionally. Those opportunities are highlighted in the marketing campaign where Correa has a cameo.

“The Soldiers featured in this campaign are a mirror of who we are and what we aspire to be – leaders of character and servants of our great American public," said Maj. Gen. Johnny Davis, Commanding General of United States Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox. "It is critical that we build the force that reflects the population it serves. The Army Officers we recruit today are our rising leaders of tomorrow."

The “Decide to Lead” campaign has been featured in nationwide audiences across social and entertainment platforms and in print marketing in primary locations like college campuses, extending the Army’s efforts to reach Gen Z members. 


Devotional: The road to joy

Don’t let anyone tell you that life is all about the journey. It’s not true. The journey of life is all about the destination. In all of the moments and visions that entail within the journey, you have to eventually GO FOR JOY. Matthew 7:13-14 states, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few”

Ask God for everything. The world tells you that you are the one who is in control of your fate and must lead for yourself. But God wants you to believe in Him and invites you to ask, seek, and knock (Luke 11:9). Joy

Take him up on ii, and at the end of your journey, the status and achievements the world most admires will mean nothing. All that will matter is whether or not you faithfully stewarded what Jesus entrusted to you.

By Jeffrey Vera, director of alumni relations 


In the Mix

The word “vision” is defined as: 1) the faculty or state of being able to see; 2) the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom. The human eye is capable of seeing very fine print in newspaper articles or big billboards with pictures and a statement for the masses to consume. Let’s go in depth to the second definition, which is always misunderstood when it comes to “having vision”.

We tend to not want to think forward to the next level of life or even the future of our alma mater. In the end, things will end and therefore we have to look forward to paving the way, for those who will come after us.

VisionDr. James H. Wayland, was not above a change of heart when it came to matters of the heart. After all, it was in the vision of his bride-to-be, Sarah Francis Tucker, for whom he converted to the Baptist faith in order to wed in December of 1883. Through the expression of their faith, their reach would transcend time and geographical boundaries and touch thousands of lives around the world.  That vision of Dr. Wayland, transformed his expression and established an institution that you and I would later place in our hindsight in pursuit of becoming: ministers, business professionals, music directors, teachers, and even nurses.  He had a vision and now you have a vision.

As part of the 60,000+ alumni via the WBU Alumni Association, you are part of the: past, present, and future. When taking on this new year, open your heart and eyes and interpret the vision as an alumnus, while encompassing your experiences here at Wayland, and casting that vision you have for the future.

Have a wonderful 2023 and may God bless you!