We have Bronco women’s volleyball coach Shelby Forchtner to thank for this breathtaking view of NMMI from the south as she took the photograph perched in a hot air balloon. One can see Hagerman Barracks as the largest structure on the campus of this military school. Just to the south of Hagerman, Lea and Willson academic halls face each other almost glaringly according to some long time faculty members. Cahoon Armory, where basketball and volleyball games are hosted, is located close to northwest tip of Hagerman Barracks.
The underutilized Daniels Leadership Center is just under the low flying yellow balloon you see in the picture. Another balloon is directly above Main Street or US285 which serves as the east border to the Military Institute which was functioning prior to New Mexico gaining its statehood. If you look closely, the Rappel Tower is located under this same balloon not too far from the Walgreen’s drug store. The institute has an exemplary rope’s course program and instructor whose name eludes me. We met this energetic young man, who is a credit to the school, when we attended a friend’s daughter graduation ceremony a few years back.
We believe the aerial picture was posted on a NMMI website or blog maintained by cadet Brandon Munoz. A friend of ours from Casper Wyoming, who watched the girl volleyball players win an incredible game 31-29 in a tournament game there, emailed us the picture.
Forchtner is an old school coach who does not believe in awards for participation or attendance. She maintains high standards and expectations for her players and rarely issues fake compliments or kudos for their efforts unless they are really deserving! It is no surprise that she won coach of the year and is highly respected by her players. I believe her husband also coaches baseball at NMMI.