Jonas Pasion is far from home.
Blacksburg is approximately 8,500 miles from his hometown of Angeles City, Philippines. But the distance isn’t stopping him from stepping up in a big way this year as a Cadet Captain of the new Lima Company in the Third Battalion.
The senior political science major and Corps of Cadet Captain emigrated from the Philippines when he was thirteen to Valencia, Cali. His mom had come to the United States ten years earlier while Pasion stayed in the Philippines being raised by his aunts and uncles.
Once his mom had established financial stability, Pasion joined his mom in the “land of the opportunity.” Since he was underage and his mother had already established citizenship, Pasion automatically got citizenship in the United States.
His personal journey to the ROTC at Virginia Tech is one with the goal of servitude.
“The United States has given my mom and I opportunities I never would have gotten in the Philippines,” Pasion said. “I just want to give back to the country that gave me these opportunities.”
As one of the executive officers in the new Lima Company in the Third Batallion, Pasion oversees 81 freshmen in their training experience during the first few weeks of school. Lima Company was established this semester as a solution to the overcrowding in the Corps.
“It’s a different experience from what I’m used to,” Pasion said. “Each day is different because each freshman is different. I have to cater to their needs and cater to their individual class.”
The latest Gold Cord rankings came out yesterday, which rank each company in the Corps based on a variety of standards such as training, physical competitions, disciplenary, and academically. Lima company was ranked No. 1.
Dan Moratto, Pasion's commander in the Lima Company, attributes most of the success of the newly found company to Pasion.
"Some of the freshman see him as being too tough, but I think that's a good thing," Moratto said. "He's trying to make the company the best."
Pasion was most recently nominated to carry the colors during the pre-game ceremony at the Pittsburgh football game.
Freshmen are selected to carry the flags during home games, while upperclassmen are selected to carry the games at the away football games. The cadets are chosen based on their performance throughout the cadet regimen.
Cole Freeman, the battalion commander, nominated Pasion after he witnessed how Lima Company was coming together under the leadership of Pasion.
“He did a superb job; his freshman were some of the best I had seen,” Freeman said. “His professionalism shines through in everything he does. You can really see how his subordinates react to his leadership.”
Pasion, who had never seen a football game before coming to Tech four years ago, was honored to represent the corps and Tech at the Pittsburgh game.
“The Hokies will always be the first and only football team I ever cheer for,” Pasion said.
Pasion got to witness the behind the scenes action such as the locker room speeches and prayer before meal.
“It was just an awesome experience, win or loose,” Pasion said.
Cadet Pasion spent a month of his last summer at Fort Lewis in North Carolina.
“The corps and the Army have given me the best training they could give me. I’ve learned to lead people and live with them, while still being friends with them,” he said. “That’s a big part of serving in the Army.”
Pasion has already signed a contract with the Army and will fulfill his dream of serving the country once he graduates in May.