Fayetteville son Holden-Reagan Cooper Shelton has graduated from Carson Newman University and been commissioned into the United States Army.

Cooper is the youngest son of Fayetteville’s former mayor, Gwen Shelton, and her husband, Capt. Scott Shelton, and the grandson of Sara Shelton and the late Clyde H. Shelton, and the late James Williams and Jean Hall. He is also a 2015 graduate of Lincoln County High School.

Cooper graduated May 3 with honors and two bachelor degrees, one in political science and another in history, from Carson Newman University.

After earning a four-year Army ROTC and football scholarship Lieutenant, Cooper thrived in his role as a cadet and proved to have outstanding leadership qualities, earning Top Cadet for three of his four years, and becoming the lieutenant colonel of the Cadet Battalion.

“I have been proud of this young soldier and would like to brag on him a bit by telling everyone just how well he did at Carson-Newman and in Army ROTC,” said his Cadre Commander, Lt. Col. Luis Cruz Ramos, U.S. Army. “Shelton had a very busy time with 0530 a.m. physical training sessions with Army ROTC, followed by morning sports meetings and carrying a full load of classes, culminating with football practice and study sessions lasting well into the night.

“He performed so well that he finished in the top 10 percent of the country for graduating ROTC cadets,” he continued. “Only 130 aviation slots for pilots were offered in the nation. Our Shelton received one, beating out even some of our West Point cadets, which is very rare to happen.

“I am very proud of this young man and wish him the very best”, said Ramos.

Cooper reported the biggest thrill about commissioning was being sworn into the service by his brother, Capt. Nevada Shelton, who flew in from Fort Irwin, Calif., for the event.

“I’m extremely proud of Cooper and honored to have the privilege of swearing him into service for our nation and even more so to have him join me as an Army aviator and the second third generation pilot of our family. Our grandfather, father and now us all carry on the aviator legacy.”

Cooper said he would like to encourage all high school students to look into ROTC Scholarships – “They are a great way to attend college, receive a great education, graduate debt-free and have the privilege of serving your country.”

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