HOLIDAY HOMECOMING: Shown are (L-R) Tech. Sgt (select) Michael Paniagua, Jared Caton (ninth grade), 1st Lt Brandon Paniagua and Petre Franks.

Archived Story

Soldiers come home for Christmas

Published 8:58pm Friday, January 4, 2013

PINETOWN – Nothing brings a smile to a mother’s face quicker than having her son or daughter home for Christmas. 1st Lt. Brandon Paniagua and Tech. Sgt. (select) Michael Paniagua came home for the holidays and took time to speak to the Northside Air Force JROTC classes.
Northside High School alum Lieutenant Paniagua, currently a Blackhawk Medivac helicopter pilot, is preparing for his third tour overseas. Michael Paniagua is currently stationed in San Antonio, Texas, and is serving as an instructor. Younger brother Petre accompanied his brothers and is attending Elizabeth City State University and participating in the Army JROTC program.
NHS cadets learned about deployments to Iraq and what a soldier or airman can expect living the life within the military. They received firsthand knowledge on educational benefits, pay scales and flight pay.
Brandon spoke on how the NHS ROTC program changed his life and the doors that opened as a result of his military career choice. He inspired the cadets to attend college and not to wait.
Brandon said he waited, but later graduated from New Mexico State University with a 4.0 GPA.
Michael said the military provided him the chance to excel. He indicated that he loves his job. His dedication to advance within the military required extra hours of studying resulting in making the next rank four years early. Michael reflected back on his high school years and explained the importance of summer leadership school beyond high school.
Northside cadets received a lesson of commitment, dedication and honor towards their community, school and country, as they were told in closing that two other brothers within this family currently are serving in the Army.

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