SRU hosting commissioning ceremony for Army ROTC cadets April 30
Cadets from Slippery Rock University’s U.S. Army ROTC program will become commissioned officers, April 30, in two ceremonies conducted in the Smith Student Center Ballroom.
April 29, 2021
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Twenty-six cadets from Slippery Rock University's U.S. Army ROTC program will become commissioned officers, April 30, in the Smith Student Center Ballroom. Because of COVID-19 safety measures to restrict large indoor gatherings, the commissioning will take place in two private ceremonies at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The event comes one week after SRU's battalion conducted its annual spring awards ceremony via Zoom, recognizing cadets and support staff for their dedication to the program with several awards. The commissioning ceremony is considered the culminating event for cadets that brings a mix of emotions.
"Commissioning is a very big deal," said Kurt Bandow, a senior criminology/criminal justice major from York. "It marks the moment in our lives that we enter the Army."
"It's going to be sad to leave the program and SRU behind," said Austin Reep, a senior philosophy major from Butler. "But I'm really happy for all my classmates and I'm excited to see what all my peers do in the future."
There are three components of the ceremony: the cadets are sworn in as officers with an oath of enlistment, they receive their new insignia of rank as second lieutenants and then they accept their first salute from a noncommissioned officer.
For the oath of enlistment, cadets are sworn in by a commissioned officer or warrant officer of their choosing. They can be a family member, such as Reep choosing his uncle, Ret. Col. Cloyd Smith, or a family friend, as Bandow chose Pete Glugla, a chief warrant officer in the National Guard who mentored him and convinced him to join the Army. Some cadets choose members of the cadre at SRU, as Capt. Adam Readout, assistant professor of military science, will read the oath to Jonathan Durban, a senior safety management major from Prospect.
For most cadets, they have family members pin on their bars, indicating their insignia of rank, and that is the case for cadets Reep, Bandow and Durban. The parents of Reep (Dennis and Debra), Bandow (Aaron and Dusty) and Durban (Greg and Beth) will perform the pinning for their sons, while Reep's sister, Abby, and Bandow's sister, Kaylee, will also participate.
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. Sgt. Jacob Astare, a former SRU student who recently returned from a deployment in Kuwait, will salute both Reep and Durban. Sgt. Mark Jackson will salute Bandow.
"It's an honor to be able to follow after the other great men and women who have done the same thing and I'm really just excited to start my career," Durban said.
"The commissioning ceremony is a culminating event for our cadets and we're honored to be able to send them off to their next stage in life," said Lt. Col. Jennifer Martin, professor of military science and head of SRU's ROTC program. "They are already leaders here at SRU and they're going to be great leaders as Army officers. We wish them well and we are grateful for their contributions to our program."
The branch assignments for each of the cadets were announced in December. Many of the cadets will next attend a Basic Officer Leader Course before being assigned to a unit. For example, only a week after commissioning, Reep will go to Aviation BOLC in Fort Rucker, Alabama. His goal is to someday pilot Blackhawk helicopters.
Other cadets receiving commissions April 30 will be:
- Dawson Ambrose, a homeland security major from Slippery Rock.
- Sean Aston, a criminology/criminal justice major from Avenel, New Jersey.
- Ian Bain, a political science major from Seneca.
- Jeffrey Bennett, a management major from Harrisville.
- Brayden Black, a political science major from Marion.
- Travis Braund, a petroleum and natural gas engineering major from Butler.
- Joshua Campbell, a corporate security major from Connellsville.
- Jordan Confer, a computing major from Howard.
- Danny Dinh, a criminology/criminal justice major from Franklin.
- Becca Drake, a corporate security major from Somerset.
- Taylor Hamilton Black, a communication major from Greencastle.
- Chloe Johnson, a chemistry major from Kittanning.
- Rachael Klipa, a political science major from Pittsburgh.
- Jake Lewis, a criminology/criminal justice major from Pittsburgh.
- Daniel Pennell, a criminology/criminal justice major from Harmony.
- Jordan Pigott, a health and physical education major from Canton, Ohio.
- Tanner Pitman, a homeland security major from White Haven.
- Dean Reinhardt, a criminology/criminal justice major from Denville, New Jersey.
- Anthony Rosati, a safety management major from Aliquippa.
- Paul Scott, an accounting major from Erie.
- Gavin Terwilliger, a safety management major from Butler.
- Zachary Vandyke, a safety management major from Harrisville.
- William Wain, a computing major from Cranberry Township.
The following awards were presented to cadets and staff at the spring awards ceremony, April 23:
- Hamilton Black was presented the Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America Award, which recognizes a cadet in the top 25% of his or her class and who demonstrates excellence in military history.
- Lucas Monzo, a sophomore homeland security major from Harrison City, was awarded the National Sojourners Award, which recognizes an outstanding cadet in the top 25% of his or her academic class who has encouraged and demonstrated ideals of Americanism by deed or conduct.
- Braund was presented the National Guard Association Award, given to the cadet with the highest standing in his or her class who is entering into or who is already in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. The award also recognizes accomplishments as a student, as well as positive attitude and motivation.
- Jackson Novak, a sophomore homeland security major from Slippery Rock, was presented the General Society of the War of 1812 Outstanding Student Award, which recognizes a sophomore cadet who displays the highest level of leadership and patriotism, demonstrated aptitude to lead peers and subordinates, as well as having a GPA in the top 20% of the institution's class and top 10% of the ROTC program.
- Andrew Gaudish, a graduate student majoring in criminal justice from Slippery Rock, was presented the USAA Spirit Award, given to the cadet who best exemplifies the concept of service to unit, community and nation.
- Reep (gold medal); Nichole Hughes, a junior elementary education/early childhood major from Glassport (silver medal); and Jessica Fischer, a sophomore homeland security major from Harrisville (bronze medal); were presented the Reserve Officers Association Award, which honors cadets in the top 10% of their SRU ROTC class who demonstrated outstanding qualities of leadership, moral character and a high aptitude for military service.
- Justin Matteo, a junior homeland security major from Drums, was presented the Association of the United States Army ROTC Medal, which recognizes a cadet in the top 10% of the SRU ROTC class and in the top 25% of the academic class.
- Klipa was presented the National Defense Industrial Association Award, given to a senior cadet in the 50th percentile in academic class who maintains a B average or above in ROTC advanced courses, is in the top 20% in ROTC camp evaluation scores, participates in athletics or campus activities, and demonstrates outstanding leadership qualities.
- Durban was presented the American Veterans Award, which recognizes a cadet who demonstrates diligence, duty and a willingness to serve God and country.
- Maya French, a junior political science major from Portersville, was presented the Sons of the American Revolution Award, which recognizes a cadet for good standing scholastically and militarily with a high degree in leadership.
- Ambrose, Rosati, and Dillon Pusateri, a junior political science major from Bethel Park; received the American Legion ROTC Military Excellence Award, which recognizes a cadet in the top 25% of the class in academic and ROTC subjects. Ambrose's award was from the Harrisville American Legion Post 852 and Rosati's and Pusateri's was from the Slippery Rock American Legion Post 393.
- Jamie Wintruba, a junior homeland security major from West Mifflin, and Adam Jones, a junior homeland security major from West Clarksville, New York, were awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars Award from Post 6231, which recognizes a cadet with good academic and military standing.
- Donald Boley, a junior corporate security major from Carlisle, was presented the Military Officers Association of America ROTC Medal, which recognizes a cadet with good academic standing, high moral character, military leadership and a high level of loyalty to school and country.
- Hughes (gold medal); Reese Johnson, a sophomore safety management major from East Stroudsburg (silver medal); and Reese Larson, a freshman homeland security major from Saegertown; were presented the Military Order of World Wars Award, which recognizes a cadet who demonstrates the greatest improvement in ROTC and scholastic studies.
- Nathan Morgan, a junior safety management major from New Columbia, was presented the Military Order of Purple Heart Leadership Medal, which recognizes an underclassmen cadet who has a positive attitude toward ROTC and country, who holds a leadership position within the cadet battalion, is active in school and community, and meets a minimum GPA requirement.
- Reese Johnson was presented the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Award, recognizing a cadet who demonstrates patriotism on campus by deeds or conduct, is in the top 25% in ROTC and academic class, and demonstrates outstanding leadership.
- Reese Burwell, a sophomore safety management major from Lancaster, Ohio, was presented the Sgt. York Award, which recognizes a cadet who does the most to support the ROTC program.
- Confer; Nathan Marchand, a junior management major from Hermitage; Ryan Davis, a sophomore safety management major from Harrisville; and Nicholas Gorton, a freshman safety management major from Warren, were presented the Department of the Army Superior Cadets Awards, which recognize cadets in the top 25% percent in both ROTC and academic standings and who has demonstrated outstanding officer potential.
- Ambrose, Aston, Bandow, Braund, Confer, Durban, Reep, Rosati and Vandyke were recognized as Distinguished Military Students, for being in the top one-third of the ROTC class and top half of the academic class.
- Ambrose, Aston, Bain, Bandow, Braund, Confer, Durban, Reep, Rosati and Vandyke were recognized as Distinguished Military Graduates, for being in the top 20% of the ROTC National Order of Merit List.
- Bandow was presented the Sgt. Lacey Christley Award, which recognizes a top senior cadet. The award included a saber given on behalf of the VFW Post 6231 commemorating the post's namesake.
- Reep was presented the George C. Marshall Award, which recognizes a cadet for completing advanced camp, leadership and scholastic qualities that epitomize the famous World War II army general.
- The top cadets in each of the classes were recognized: Reep (MS IV); Marchand (MS III); Aiden Eury, a junior elementary education/early childhood major from Latrobe (MS II); and Gorton (MS I).
The SRU ROTC program also recognized the following staff and supporters of the program with Appreciation Awards: Brian Mortimer, interim director of campus recreation; Travis Wunsch, management technician in the Department of Athletics; Mike Schnelle, digital design director in the Office of University Communication and Public Affairs; and Jim North, secretary of the Slippery Rock Sportsmen's Club.
SRU's Ranger Challenge Team was also recognized for advancing to the Sandhurst Military Skills Competition at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.
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