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ROTC Commissioning Celebrates Student Milestones With Army Tradition

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Proud parents, spouses, partners and other supporters came out to watch as 18 U.S. Army cadets took part in a ceremony steeped in tradition: their commissioning as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army.  

Cadets from Cal State Fullerton, Biola and Vanguard universities took the oath of office and gave their first salute during the Saturday, May 11, ceremony at the Fullerton Marriott.

Joining in the support of the students and future army leaders were CSUF President Fram Virjee and his wife, Julie; Congressman Gil Cisneros; Orange County Supervisor Doug Chaffee; Janet Chin, civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army; and representatives of other government officials.

Laurie Roades, dean of the College of Health and Human Development, welcomed the assembled family and other supporters, noting “your support makes all the difference. … These cadets have been leaders on our campus and our sister campuses and will now become leaders in service.”

“This is one of my favorite parts of the year. It’s a time of change, of moving forward and it’s extremely important to me to be here,” said Virjee. “Our cadets are heroes on campus, in their community and now of our nation. They join an elite group of Titans who are serving their country.

“Each of you are a manifestation of what we say here: Titans Reach Higher. And today we consider all cadets, even those from other campuses, as part of the Titan family.”

Keynote speaker Brig. Gen. Denton Knapp, Commander, Army Component CSMR, California State Military Reserve, and director of the Tierney Center for Veteran Services at Goodwill of Orange County, administered the oath of commissioned officers to the cadets, stressing that military service is a profession, one in which service men and women “serve the U.S. Constitution. We give our allegiance to an ideal that spans the length of time. Never forget that. You are stewards of our profession and have the responsibility to pass it on to the next generation.”

Family members joined the cadets on stage for the pinning of the new second lieutenants’ shoulder boards designating their branch of service and rank, followed by the traditional first salute to an adviser or other mentor.

“The first salute of a newly commissioned officer involves a silver dollar. It symbolically represents the respect due to the lieutenant’s newly earned rank and position,” explained Cadet Jocelyn Rodriguez, who served as the program’s master of ceremony. “It signifies the new officer’s deep sense of gratitude for the knowledge that enlisted soldiers, especially noncommissioned officers, have passed on to them during training.”

The special coins used during the ceremony were donated by CSUF alumnus Gregory Wirzbicki, who founded a scholarship endowment for ROTC cadets and veterans attending the university.

“It has been my absolute honor and privilege to serve as your professor of military science,” said Lt. Col. Jesus J. Cruz. “I will no longer worry or wonder about whether you’ll be ok, because you’ll be more than you can even imagine. If I didn’t always find a way to say it, I hope I always showed it. I’m so proud of all of you.”

The new second lieutenants and the fields in which they are completing bachelor’s degrees, by university, are:

Cal State Fullerton:

Logan Abraham, business administration-finance
Peter C. Battung, mechanical engineering
Mayra Bendavid, sociology
Christopher Bos, computer science
Christopher Flores, kinesiology
Steve Kwak, sociology
Darren Meier, criminal justice
Huey Nguyen, kinesiology
Brandon Pacini, political science
Caleb Perez, public administration
Cesareo Reyes, criminal justice
Stacy Rosete, biological science-molecular biology and biotechnology
Scott Sanchez, health science
Tatiana Sevilla, sociology
Riad Soliven, computer engineering
Jake Winders, criminal justice

Biola University:

Jose Hernandez, biblical/theology

Vanguard University:

Andrew Wise, mathematics