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Wright takes over as professor of military science

PMS Col. Joshua Wright
Col. Joshua D. Wright joined UNG on July 31 as the new professor of military science for the Corps of Cadets.

Col. Joshua D. Wright has been around the world with the U.S. Army, serving in places such as Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Bosnia and Haiti.

His latest assignment brings him to the University of North Georgia (UNG) as the new professor of military science. Just down the road from where his wife was born and raised in Cumming, Georgia, Wright is grateful for his new job, which started July 31.

"I'm absolutely excited to be here," Wright said.

It is not Wright's first time in northeast Georgia. One of his previous tours included stops at the 5th Ranger Training Battalion at Camp Merrill in Dahlonega in 2007 and 2009.

He already knew about UNG before being named to his new role, as he has worked with multiple UNG alumni in the armed forces. One of those, Col. Rich Timmons '90, was his second company commander and remains close friends with Wright.

Dr. Billy Wells, senior vice president for leadership and global engagement, said Wright is a great addition.

"Col. Wright was selected from many imminently qualified candidates," said Wells, a retired Army colonel and a former professor of military science at UNG. "He is an outstanding infantry officer and decorated combat veteran. We welcome Josh to the preeminent Army ROTC program in the nation."

With more than two decades of Army service, Wright is focused on developing leaders at UNG. A regular Army officer, he has led Army formations from platoon through brigade command.

"Where I'm at career-wise, I think it's an opportunity for me to take a couple of decades' worth of experience and make sure it doesn't go to waste, and give it back to the future," Wright said.

He said helping cadets have the right idea of leadership is crucial in preparing them for service once they graduate.

"They need to be given opportunities to lead and develop. They need opportunities to fall on their face. They need opportunities to get picked back up and put back into position," Wright said. "Better to learn in these four years than struggle going into their first assignments."

He knows about different and sometimes difficult assignments. His latest tour before UNG was a year in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, where he was the Multinational Force and Observers Task Force Sinai commander, MFO Deputy Commanding Officer and MFO Chief of Staff. It is a place the United States has maintained a presence since the Camp David Accords of 1978 followed by a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1979.

Wright holds a Master of Science degree in management leadership and organizational effectiveness from Troy University, a Master of Science degree in strategic studies from the Air War College and a Bachelor of Science degree in geology from Eastern Illinois University.

His awards and decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medals, Meritorious Service Medals, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, Iraq Campaign and Afghanistan Campaign Medals and MFO Medals, Presidential Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Citations, Superior Unit Awards, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Ranger Tab, Senior Parachutist and Air Assault Badges.

Wright said while multinational coalitions are commonplace today, they require even more cultural understanding and the ability to form relationships quickly.

"What the world presents is complexity," Wright said. "And we don't go anywhere alone."

Wright said cadets' four years on UNG's Dahlonega Campus are all about preparation.

"You have to put folks in positions where they're going to be challenged, they're going to have opportunities to stumble, they're going to have opportunities to succeed," Wright said. "Otherwise you can't really get a good sense of who they are and how they'll fit."

He said treating people with dignity and respect is one of the most important things he can teach cadets. And he is looking to be available.

"That door is open all the time. That's what I tell people," Wright said. "There's no problem too big or too small. And you don't have to come see me with a problem."

Wright already met a few cadets in his first week by commissioning 11 cadets as part of summer commencement Aug. 3. He said UNG's 145 years of producing military leaders is impressive, and he hopes to continue that tradition of excellence.

"I'm absolutely focused on producing the best," Wright said.

Wright is married to Cheryl Wright. They have a son, Mitchell, and two daughters, Sydney and Hannah. Being so close to his wife's family that lives in Cumming, Wright is thankful for his appointment.

"For us, it's kind of a dream come true," Wright said. "Not too many times in your Army career will you get your first choice."

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