COL Roman Cantu was born in McAllen Texas and graduated from Mission High School in 1989, and the University of Texas, Pan American in 1994.
Upon graduation, COL Cantu attended the United States Army Armor Officer Basic Course and was subsequently deployed to Camp Casey Korea from August 1995 to December 1996 serving as a Platoon Leader and Tank Company Executive Officer with the 2nd Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment.
He became the commander of the US Army 5th Recruiting Brigade May 4, 2018.
Upon successful tour completion, COL Cantu was assigned to the D Company, 1st Battalion 46th Infantry Regiment, Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he served as an Executive Officer of a Basic Training Company from 1996 to 1999.
From 1999 to 2003, COL Cantu was assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Calvary Division, Fort Hood Texas. Positions held during this timeframe included Tank Company Commander in 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, and the Commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade, 1st Calvary Division.
From 2003 to 2006, COL Cantu was assigned to the Warhog Observer - Controller & Trainer Team, Combat Maneuver Training Center, Hohenfels Germany.
Upon completion of the tour, COL Cantu attended the Command and General Staff College, at Fort Leavenworth Kansas, and was subsequently assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder Germany from 2007 to 2010. Key assignments held during this timeframe include the S3 (Operations), 1st Battalion, 35th Armor, and the S3 (Operations) for 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division. COL Cantu deployed to Iraq during this period.
In February 2010, COL Cantu was assigned to the United States Northern Command J35 (Future Operations), located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, CO as a Homeland Defense specialist focused on developing and refining both homeland defense and natural disaster response plans and orders.
From June 2012 to June 2014, COL Cantu commanded of the 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division located at Fort Bliss, TX. During this timeframe, COL Cantu commanded a Combined Arms Battalion manned with over 800 Soldiers and equipped with M1A2 Main Battle Tanks, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, and 120MM Mortar Systems.
From June 2014 to July 2015, COL Cantu was assigned as the Deputy Chief of Staff, G3 of the 1st Armored Division. Key areas of emphasis included planning and synchronizing activities across all of Fort Bliss and the 1st Armored Division.
From July 2015 to June 2016, COL Cantu attended the United States Army War College.
From July 2016 to June 2017, COL Cantu held the position of Chief of Staff to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications, Resolute Support Mission stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan. Areas of focus during this time included assisting in the management of strategic communications for the Resolute Support and Operation Freedom Sentinel mission requirements.
From August 2017 until 03 May 2018, COL Cantu held the position as the G5 (Future Plans) for United States Army South.
Decorations and badges include: Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, the Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign Medals, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal (with service star), Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, Army Parachutist Badge, and the Army Air Assault Badge.
COL Cantu is married to the former Patricia E. Rivera of Edinburg Texas and has two children, Alejandro, age 14, and Eva, age 12.