BUIES CREEK – Fifteen ROTC cadets were saluted for the first time as officers Friday during a commissioning service held at Campbell University.
The cadets took their oaths and were pinned by friends and family members at the ceremony in Scott Hall, which kicked off a two-day schedule of several graduation ceremonies in Buies Creek. Campbell’s main campus graduation is scheduled for 9 a.m. in the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center.
“It has been a huge pleasure and an honor to work with this next generation,” said first-year professor of military science Lt. Col. Michael Mason. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it this year, and I’m proud of each man and woman here today.”
The commissioned cadets included Keli Alston, Adam Chavis, Manuel Chavis, Michael Del Do, Joshua Free, Robert Hanger, Robert Kelly, Michael Mayes, John Myers, Justin Phillips, Cory Plymel, Brandi Sandage, Elliot Suggs, Samantha Watson and Christopher Weber. Del Do, Plymel, Myers, Phillips and Weber earned the title “Distinguished Military Graduate.”
“It’s great to share this day with my family and friends,” said Alston of Sanford, the first to be pinned Friday. She then turned to her fellow cadets and said, “I hope we cross paths in the future, and good luck on your journey.”
Alston concluded with an emphatic “Yes!” as she left the stage.
ROTC cadets are commissioned upon completion of the Campbell Battalion’s Advanced Course and successful graduation from the University. Their commissioning as a U.S. Army officer begins their career in either the active Army or Reserve/National Guard.
Lt. Col. Blaine Ham, who was commissioned at Campbell in 1993, called Campbell a “powerhouse” for producing quality service men and women and a University well-known in the Army ranks for “producing adaptive leaders.”
His advice to the cadets – be prepared for a more competitive Army.
“Like everyone else, the Army is downsizing and thinning the herd, so to speak,” Ham said. “You’re coming into a more competitive, more professional Army. To succeed, you have to be more focused.”
Story, Photo by Billy Liggett, Assistant Director for Publications