SRU Army ROTC cadets to be commissioned May 12

ROTC cadet taking oath of commission

Fourteen cadets from the Slippery Rock University’s ROTC program will be sworn in as U.S. Army officers at a commissioning ceremony, May 12 at the Smith Student Center Ballroom. Tyler Ejzak (left) was sworn in during last year’s ceremony. This year, as a commissioned officer, he will read the oath to his wife, Sierra.

May 3, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The oath, the pinning of the bars and the first salute will all be part of the commissioning ceremony as 14 cadets from the Slippery Rock University Army ROTC program will be sworn in as commissioned officers at 4 p.m., May 12 in the Smith Student Center Ballroom.

"It's more of an awakening, like 'This is it; here we go,'" said Daniel Seasock, a senior health science-public health major and ROTC cadet from Wilkes-Barre. "It's a significant milestone, a point when a new chapter of our lives begins."

Seasock is one of four cadets who will be entering active duty as officers in the U.S. Army, while the 10 other SRU graduates will become officers in the National Guard. All 14 graduates will be commissioned with the rank of second lieutenant.

Cadets being commissioned include:

  • Caitlyn Boulette, a recreational therapy major from Coopersburg;
  • Olivia Combs, a social work major from Felton, Delaware;
  • Sierra Ejzak, health science-public health major from Warren, Ohio;
  • Dustin Fisch, a computing major from Morrisdale;
  • Jared Flood, an interdisciplinary programs major from Churchville;
  • Wyatt Kohl, an interdisciplinary programs major from Northumberland;
  • Logan Kreider, an interdisciplinary programs major from Etters;
  • Adam Leeper, a health and physical education major from Turtle Creek;
  • LeAnn Penn, a biology major from Conneaut Lake;
  • Samuel Quadri, an interdisciplinary programs major from Pittsburgh;
  • Briana Quinones, an interdisciplinary programs major from Matawan, New Jersey;
  • Kevin Reno, a psychology major from Mercer;
  • Daniel Seasock, a health science-public health major from Wilkes-Barre; and
  • Trent Viccari , an interdisciplinary programs major from Ellwood City

THE OATH

As part of the commissioning ceremony, the cadets will be sworn in as officers by a commissioned officer or warrant officer of their choosing.

For Sierra Ejzak, the choice for whom she wanted to swear her in was easy. She looked no further than her own husband, Tyler, who she met at SRU and married last September, and who was commissioned last spring. Another easy decision was joining SRU's ROTC program. Ejzak came to the University on an athletic scholarship to play softball, but in her first semester playing catcher, she tore her rotator cuff in three places. Rather than risk losing her scholarship and rehabilitate her shoulder to full health, which doctors estimated could take up to three years, Ejzak joined ROTC for the financial benefits and guaranteed job placement.

"I probably would still be playing softball if I didn't get injured," Ejzak said. "Everything definitely worked out for the best. It's motivating to have something sound to go to after leaving here."

Entering active duty, Ejzak will be stationed in Grafenwoehr, Germany, as a military police officer after she attends Basic Officer Leader Course in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Her husband is also a military police officer stationed at Grafenwoehr.

THE PINNING

Even though the oath is familial for Ejzak, most cadets' immediate family members get involved by pinning on their insignia of rank, or bars, to their uniforms. For Trent Viccari, his father, Bill, and grandfather, Nick, will pin on his bars.

"(My dad) is one of my idols, very hard-working and dedicated to his family," Viccari said. "He's going to tell me he's so proud of me because that's all I ever hear when I go home. He can't believe the progress I made and the young adult I've grown into."

Viccari, who enlisted in the National Guard as a high school student, joined the ROTC program as a college sophomore. The day after the commissioning ceremony he will report to Fort Indiantown Gap in Annville for his annual National Guard training. Then he will attend his BOLC training for field artillery this October at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, before being assigned to the National Guard's Alpha Battery 1st Battalion/107th Field Artillery unit based in Hermitage.

THE FIRST SALUTE

Completing the commissioning ceremony will be the first salute, a tradition between a non-commissioned officer who has influenced the newly commissioned officer. The NCO is called to post and salutes the new officer, who returns the gesture and also hands him or her a silver dollar through a handshake of appreciation.

"I asked my uncle at the dinner table (at Christmas) and the whole family cried," Seasock recalled. "It was really meaningful to everyone in my entire family. They are very proud of me and have support me throughout the program."

Seasock's uncle, Thomas Conklin, is a retired chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy.

Seasock will enter active duty as a field artillery officer, first conducting his BOLC training at Fort Sill before being assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Calvary Division in Fort Hood, Texas.

In addition to Seasock and Ejzak, the other commissioned officers who will enter active duty are Olivia Combs and Samuel Quadri. After medical training, Combs will be assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Quadri, whose specific unit has not been determined, will report to infantry training in Fort Benning, Georgia.

The ceremony's keynote speaker will be Col. Marc Ferraro, who, as assistant division commander (maneuver), is one of the top leaders in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. In that role, he serves as the primary adviser to the commanding general for operations, training, resource management and mobilization readiness.

The entire commissioning ceremony has special meaning to the cadets as it not only serves as the culmination of their ROTC experience, but also provides an elite distinction, not only among the general population, but also in the military ranks.

"Most of us have worked four or three years for this," Ejzak added. "We put in a lot of time and commitment. We are always told that 1 percent of the population are in the military, and 1 percent of that 1 percent are officers, which is really cool."

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 | justin.zackal@sru.edu