University of Minnesota
The UMN-TC Gopher Battalion Staff is comprised of a highly dedicated team of current and former US Army Officers and NCOs, both past and present, and could not run as effectively as it does without the strong dedication from its top-notch administrative and support staff members.

Gopher Battalion Faculty & Staff

The UMN-TC Gopher Battalion Staff is comprised of a highly dedicated team of current and former US Army Officers and NCOs, both past and present, and could not run as effectively as it does without the strong dedication from its top-notch administrative and support staff members.

LTC Dustin Harris

Professor of Military Science

LTC Harris accepted an ROTC scholarship to Texas A&M University where he received his commission in the Corps of Engineers and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1996. In 2004 he earned a Master’s of Civil Engineering. Prior to his post at the U of M, LTC Harris served with Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany.

MSG Dempsey

Commandant of Cadets

MSG Dempsey is originally from Bryson City, NC. He entered the Army on 01 August 1990 as a 19D Cavalry Scout. He has had numerous deployments, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, and Egypt. His previous assignemnts include Germany, FT Hood, FT Stewart, FT Carson, FT Knox, and FT Campbell.

MSG Dempsey comes to the program from Carson, CO where he was serving as 1SG of a Cavalry Troop deployed to Afghanistan.

MAJ Thomas Axtell

Executive Officer

MAJ Axtell is originally from Duluth, MN. He accepted an ROTC scholarship to Saint John's University where he received his commission in the Ordnance Corps and a BA in History. In 2009 he earned an MBA in Organizational Behavior. In 2007 he transferred to the Minnesota National Guard and executed a branch transfer to Infantry. His last assignment was to Joint Force Headquarters MN. MAJ Axtell lives with his lovely wife and two beautiful daughters.

Mr. Mitchell Ruedebusch

Executive Enrollment and Scholarship Officer

Mr. Mitchell Ruedebusch is a native of Huron, South Dakota. He accepted an ROTC Scholarship to attend the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology where he received his Army Commission in  Field Artillery and a Bachelor's of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1995. He received a Master's of Art Degree in Management and Leadership through Webster University in 2009.

He has over 14 years of active service with a deployment to Iraq and is currently an Army Reservist with the 4-413th Regiment (SROTC). 

Mr. Gregory Heller

Deputy Enrollment and Scholarships Officer

Mr. Greg Heller is a native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. In 2009 he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Management Communication, and commissioned as a Military Police officer in the National Guard through NDSU’s “Bison Battalion”. Mr. Heller holds a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Minnesota, and is currently working towards another Master’s Degree in Higher Education. Mr. Heller has deployed to Kosovo, and is preparing for an upcoming deployment to Africa. In 2012, Mr. Heller currently serves in the Army Reserve as a Civil Affairs Officer with the 407th Civil Affairs Battalion. In his spare time, he enjoys riding his motorcycle, doing PT, and spending time with his family.

SFC Richard Babineau

National Guard Liason/Enrollment NCO

SFC Babineau, a native of Elk River, MN joined the Army Reserve in 1989. He transferred to the Army National Guard in 1991. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and was a 2nd Grade Teacher in North Minneapolis for 5 years. SFC Babineau was deployed to Bosnia in 2003-2004. He has served as a Cavalry Scout Instructor, and has been an Army National Guard Recruiter for the past 7 years.

CPT Michael McConaghy

S-3; Training and Operations

CPT Michael Dennis McConaghy enlisted in 2005 and served as an Infantry rifleman at Schofield Barracks, HI before commissioning as a 2nd LT in the Infantry branch in 2009. 1LT McConaghy received a B.S. in Business Administration from Franklin University in 2001. He has deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. 1LT McConaghy has two children and resides in Lakeville with his wife.

SFC Adam Lisius

Training and Operations NCO

SFC Lisius entered military service in 1998 with the Wisconsin Army National Guard, upon graduation of High School he completed basic training and entered active duty. SFC Lisius has served in the 101st Airborne, 25th Infantry division, JRTC Operations Group/ Observer Controller and most recently with the 1/509 Airborne OPFOR at Fort Polk, LA. He has completed three deployments in support of the Global War on Terror. SFC Lisius resides in Shoreview with his wife and two children.

CPT Steven Cole

S-1/S-4 Administrative and Logistics Officer

CPT Steven Lawrence Cole enlisted in 1997 and served as a 14T patriot launcher crewmember in Germany before commissioning as a 2nd LT in the Army Quartermaster Corps in 2006. CPT Cole received a B.A. in Liberal Arts in 2005 and a MBA in 2012. He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (08-10) and New Dawn (11-12). CPT Cole is the proud father of a son and resides in Minneapolis with his wife.

Mr. Dave Leard

Senior Military Science Instructor

Mr. Leard is originally from Chicora, Pennsylvania and now resides in Lakeville. He began his military career as an ROTC cadet at the Pennsylvania State University. He was commissioned as an Active Duty Army Officer and assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers.  He holds a Bachelor Degree in Environmental Engineering from Penn State and a Masters Degree in Engineering Management from the University of Missouri - Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology).  He had over 10 years of Active Duty service and 11 years of service in the Army Reserve.  He did one tour of duty in Germany and deployed to Operation Desert Storm, Operation Restore Hope (Somalia), Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). He retired from the Army Reserve in August, 2010.

Mr. David Lykens

Military Science Instructor

Mr. Lykens is a native of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Mr. Lykens began his military career 29 days after his high school graduation in 1987.

Mr. John Zeitler

Senior Military Science Instructor

Mr. Zeitler is a native of Grand Forks, North Dakota. He graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in History and commissioned as an Armor Officer from ROTC. He served on both active duty and in the US Army Reserve, deploying twice. He retired after 28 years as a LTC. He has taught ROTC cadets for 14 years as an MSI, MSII, MSII and MSIV instructor and is currently a Military History Instructor.

Jana Gunther

Enrollment Administrator

Jana is a native of Meeteetse, Wyoming. In 2003, she enlisted as an administration specialist and deployed in 2004. Jana pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Psycho-biology from Hastings College and received a direct commission in 2008. She is currently serving in the Reserves.

Shanna Young

Human Resources Administrator

Shanna Young is a native of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.   She comes from a military background where both of her parents served in the Army. She applied for the civilian government Human Resources Assistant position at the University of Minnesota Army ROTC in the Spring of 2005 and left the Army in July 2005 when she was hired.  Shanna provides all of the personnel management for our assigned cadre, as well as numerous personnel actions for our cadets – most notably, she assists in the administrative tasks associated with contracting cadets and commissioning our newest graduates.

John Joyner

Unit Supply Clerk

One thing is certain for every cadet in Army ROTC, they need stuff. Whether it's uniforms, rank, boots, or paper to print out a midterm, John is the man who meets everyone's needs. John Joyner, a native of St. Paul , Minnesota , entered the Minnesota Army National Guard in May of 1969. He retired from the Military after 30 Years of Service as SFC, effective 1 Sep 99.