RENO — One Carson City Sheriff’s Office employee is taking his training to the United States Military.
Cole Sonnemann, a reserve sergeant with the Sheriff’s Office was commissioned Wednesday as a Second Lieutenant for the U.S. Army National Guard as a Field Artillery Officer with the 1-143 Field Artillery Regiment, 79th Brigade Combat team based in Lodi, Calif. The 23-year-old was honored, along with 13 other officers who are entering U.S. Army positions at a commissioning ceremony at the Nightingale Concert Hall on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.
“I am very excited for the commissioning, it is a culminating event of my military career so far,” Sonnemann said. “It’s what I have ultimately wanted to do is to commission.”
Lt. Colonel Delfin Monroy Jr., a military officer, intelligence professional, and teacher, spoke at the event, telling the attendees about how hard working and ready the soon-to-be officers are.
“I am absolutely proud of the men and women earning their gold bars,” Monroy said.
Former UNR graduate Major General Mark Yenter also spoke to the students about how the ROTC program at the college helped shape his career with the Army and how they are all prepared to serve in the military.
“They wouldn’t be commissioning or graduating this weekend if they didn’t possess the skills it takes,” Yenter said.
“I just want you all to know how proud of you we are,” Yenter said. “I know that you are ready for the task… I can’t wait to serve with you.”
To be officially commissioned, the students had to go through several stages; the oath, rank pinning and the first salute. Each student individually had their loved ones pin on their rank and had an enlisted person of their choice to give their first salute as an officer.
Sonnemann had his friends and family by his side as he was commissioned as an officer. His parents and girlfriend pinned his lieutenant rank and he had his old Douglas High JROTC instructor, Retired Master Sgt. Gary Collier give his first salute because he was the one who helped Sonnemann with his career goals in school, taught him strong leadership values and inspired him to become an officer.
“He was one of my JROTC instructors who was a strong mentor to me and brought me up to my aspirations so far and really motivated me for that, so I asked him to come up for my first salute,” Sonnemann said.
The 23-year-old has an extensive history with leadership roles and community service. During his time at Douglas High School, he was a battalion commander with the JROTC and an Explorer with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. For the last two years, he has also worked as a Reserve Deputy with the Carson City Sheriff’s Office and was contracted as an officer candidate with ROTC at UNR. Prior to that he was enlisted as a Military Police Officer.
Once commissioned as an officer, Sonnemann will be in charge of a group of enlisted soldiers in an artillery battery as a platoon leader where his role will include training and developing plans based on mission requirements.
“It is a lot of imagination,” Sonnemann said. “Your higher commander is going to give you an objective that needs to be done and they are going to give you a mission and some key tasks that they want you to complete with that and I have to look at the resources I have at my disposal, the personnel and equipment, then formulate a plan into an operation order and maneuver those in a way to make that mission happen for my commander”.
As a brigade combat team, the soldiers he will be working with include infantry and artillery who will be shipped out together if a need arises. The brigade is self-sustaining with various support and maintenance elements that can be picked up and dropped into a country’s problem area in order to resolve the issue.
The Nevada native hadn’t expected to go into the military when he first started out, but he said that his old teachers, leadership roles and future as an officer were what attracted him to enlist in the military.
“I didn’t really intend on the military at that time but going through the JROTC program, while it is not meant to recruit, it was a community service sort of organization, taught by retired military and it really got me into not only the military stuff but the leadership of the military,” Sonnemann said. “I wanted to enlist first because as an officer you are in charge of enlisted folks so I wanted to be enlisted prior to that so that way I could understand how they feel how they operate and make my decisions more appropriately.”
Sonnemann will be graduating from UNR next week with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies. He also has an associates degree in Criminal Justice from Western Nevada College, but had wanted to branch out with his degrees in order to create a more encompassing background for himself with the law enforcement field.
“I went with criminal justice at WNC but I wanted to, since I was going to UNR for my bachelors, get something much more different and multifaceted instead of repeating the same thing,” Sonnemann said. “The Family/Social Studies side in essence is a lot of what we deal with people in the job with the people and their families and their issues, so it gives me that extra edge and experience when dealing with those people so we can actually fix the problem instead of having continual issues.”
Because he will still stay as a reserve with the military, he will travel to California one weekend a month and have an active duty time of about two weeks in the middle of the year. He decided to stay as a reserve in order to be able to work full time with law enforcement.
“These careers appeal to me because you never know what you will do,” Sonnemann said. “Your job as a cop you never know what your job is going to be that day as you wear so many hats, enforcer to counselor to mediator and it goes on, any of the social science sort of jobs. Same in the military, I chose artillery just because I can do something different on the side of my regular job that other people can’t really do. No one else can go out and do that stuff on the weekends. It is something different, exciting, a good release, good to keep your mind always changing and never routine.”
He will stay in Northern Nevada, working as a Reserve with Carson City, but is hoping to begin a career as a law enforcement officer with either Carson or Douglas County sheriff’s offices, because that’s where he was raised.
Sonnemann had the support of the Carson Sheriff’s Office, with several of his coworkers, Reserve Commander Tom Crawford, and Sheriff Ken Furlong attending the commissioning.
“Cole is a dedicated Reserve and that is exemplified by his dedication to the military, ROTC and completing his degree,” Crawford said. “He will make an outstanding law enforcement officer and he shows compassion, commitment and dedication in his military and law enforcement career.”