ROTC Class of ‘16 have wide spectrum of assignments
Maggie Manocchio, a 2016 Slippery Rock University criminal justice and Army ROTC graduate from Kent, Ohio, trains at the Signal Corps Basic Officer Leaders Course in Bravo Company, 442nd Signal Battalion, Fort Gordon, Georgia.
July 20, 2016
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Ten recently commissioned second lieutenants from Slippery Rock University's ROTC program entered the real world of soldiering in May when military brass assigned them to foreign and domestic duty stations.
Areas of assignment for the new officers included working with vehicle and weapons maintenance, communication, ground-combat training, medical assistance and engineering.
The officers did have some say in their futures, completing an assignment-preference sheet and competing against other cadets nationally based on the Army's Order of Merit List for personnel decisions.
"I am still learning so much about Signal Corps and what the 'big Army' is all about," said Maggie Manocchio, a 2016 criminal justice graduate from Kent, Ohio. Manocchio is training to become a signal corps officer at the Signal Corps Basic Officer Leaders Course in Bravo Company, 442nd Signal Battalion, at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Signal Corps soldiers develop, test, provide and manage communications and information systems support for the command and control of combined armed forces.
Since arriving at Fort Gordon, Manocchio said her day starts early with physical training - push-ups, chin-ups and running - and continues late into the night. The remainder of the workday includes computer science and information technology classes followed by evening studies.
"I was a criminology major at SRU, so although I have no IT background whatsoever, I was able to develop a great work and study ethic that is helping me get through the coursework here," she said. "I proudly answer to all who ask where I came from that I am a product of SRU's ROTC program. I miss the University every day and it will always be a place that I call home."
Manocchio said ROTC prepared her to take on the workload that the Army demands.
"I am fortunate to have come from a great program that pushed me mentally, physically and academically to help prepare me for my role," she said. "Being at SRU also gave me a great diverse atmosphere to work in which helped me adjust to the different kinds of people I have to work with and different environment here much easier."
Upon completion of the course in October, Manocchio said she would be assigned to a unit in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell with an eye on becoming a platoon leader.
Andrew Double, a history graduate from Evans City, has been assigned to the Chaplain Corps. He'll serve in the U.S. Army Reserves while he pursues a master's degree in divinity from Gordon Conwell-Theological Seminary.
"During my time in seminary school, I will drill in the Army Reserves underneath an actual chaplain who will serve as a mentor for me," Double said.
Although some people may not view a chaplaincy as "regular Army," Double said chaplains are "just like every soldier, grinding through and pushing forward."
"The only difference for a chaplain is they have the distinct pleasure and honor of providing the spiritual and mental needs for every soldier regardless of faith," he said. "This is the part that drew me to the Chaplain Corps, in my eyes there is no greater pleasure and honor in the world then to bring someone to Christ. I see our soldiers as the true heroes of our society and to be able to care and provide for them would be my honor."
Upon his graduation from the seminary, Double will have the option to either apply to be an active-duty chaplain or stay in the reserves and pursue a civilian ministry.
Tyler Ejzak, a geographical information systems graduate from Harmony, was assigned to the 18th Military Police Brigade in Grafenwöhr, Germany. He is currently training at the Military Police Basic Officer Leadership Course in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Ejak, once he finishes the training, will serve as a military police platoon leader in Germany.
"Being an officer in the Army is a great experience, and I'm already learning so much," he said. "I am working with a lot of great new lieutenants and am looking forward to completing the course in November."
Allie Stauffer is serving as an ordnance officer with the Pennsylvania National Guard, Bravo Co., 128th in Pittsburgh. The safety management graduate is from Williamsburg, Virginia.
"The soldiers in my platoon are experts in working and repairing various vehicles, generators and weapon systems," she said. "I make sure everything is done safely with the correct paperwork in order to allow the entire battalion to have working equipment. In addition to the paperwork, I have been the officer in charge of many different ranges and convoys."
She said being an officer involves more paperwork than she expected but that she makes time to talk with soldiers.
"I have learned that it is very rewarding to get to know the younger soldiers and watch them grow and develop, while also working with the older soldiers that have some experience and knowledge to help better myself as well," Stauffer said.
Stauffer also serves as a gold bar recruiter for the SRU ROTC program, sharing her experiences with potential ROTC candidates from area high schools.
Other newly commissioned officers from SRU and their assignments include:
- David DiPasquale of Collegeville: Infantry training at Fort Riley, Kansas. Bachelor's degree in history;
- Richard Klumph of West Middlesex: Engineer at Fort Lewis, Washington. Bachelor's degree in physical and health education;
- Tacia Mitchell of Aliquippa: Adjutant general with Pennsylvania National Guard. Bachelor's degree in criminology; and
- Matthew Truesdell, Jr. of Rochester: Military intelligence with a branch detail in infantry, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Bachelor's degree in political science;
The first class of officers from SRU graduated in 1984. Since that time, the Army has commissioned more than 300 graduates from SRU and Clarion universities. More than 40 ROTC graduates have reached the rank of major or higher. The Army is celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the ROTC this year.
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