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ROTC will perform review

Amanda Michaels | Wednesday, April 26, 2006

With the Blue Gold game, AnTostal – and even the design of the new The Shirt – ‘tradition’ is undoubtedly the watchword of the week. And tonight, another long-storied event will take place on Notre Dame’s campus as all the branches of the ROTC program come together at 5:15 p.m. in the Loftus Center to perform the annual Presidential Pass In Review.

As per tradition, University President Father John Jenkins will be in attendance, to be honored as the “distinguished dignitary,” according to Captain Tim Dukeman, Tri-Military operations officer. Although it is Jenkins’ first year at the helm, Dukeman said there will be no special additions to the ceremony.

The approximately 300 members of the Army, Navy and Air Force ND ROTC will present themselves to Jenkins, who is expected to address the group after the ceremony.

In addition, 10 of the cadets and midshipmen are being honored for either national or University military awards. This year’s Navy awardees are Gregory Hiltz, Laura Joyce, Bryan Kreller and William Sullivan. The Air Force awardees are Colin Barcus, Caitlin Diffley and Matthew Dvorsky. The Army awardees are Tanner Fleck, Shane Larson and Michael Willard.

“[The Pass in Review] is an excellent opportunity for the ND ROTC programs to show the Notre Dame family and greater South Bend community the impressive nature of one the most elite ROTC programs in the nation,” said Lt.Col Rachael Waters, this year’s Tri-Military Commander. She added that the parade also gives the cadets and midshipmen the opportunity to share their accomplishments with the community, and thank them for support and encouragement.

According to Dukeman, the Pass in Review has its roots in the Middle Ages, when “rulers held reviews in order to show their strength to others.” The American military picked up the tradition after the Revolutionary War, and Notre Dame has held the ceremony since the 1940s, he said.

In the past, the Pass in Review has been a source of controversy, not just its general presence on campus, but its specific location as well. The event has been marked with protests by the groups Pax Christi and the Catholic Peace Fellowship, who broadly objected to the University’s sponsorship of the ROTC program.

Then in 2001, the ceremony was moved to the Loftus Center from its prior location on South Quad, due to potentially inclement weather. It has stayed inside ever since, despite several petitioning efforts from the student body to have it held once again on South Quad.

Many of those against keeping the parade indoors claim that the move was made as an effort to minimize conflict between protesters and participants. Dukeman, however, disagreed.

“Due to uncertainty in weather at this time of the year, it was agreed upon by ROTC and University officials to hold the event in Loftus,” he said.

There are those, Dukeman added, that still would like to see it returned to the outdoors.

“Several of the students would like to see it held in South Quad as a return to tradition of the past when Notre Dame was a large commissioning source for the military,” he said.

Waters concurred, emphasizing that the decision to hold the Pass in Review in the Loftus Center was a joint decision by University and ROTC officials.

“As always many locations were possibilities and considered, to include Loftus, the [Joyce Center], DeBartolo Quad and South Quad. And after discussions with the ROTC programs and the University, all parties agreed to Loftus as the location for this year’s Pass in Review,” she said.

Also taking part in this year’s ceremony will be the Great Lakes Naval Marching Band, who will be performing all the parade’s music as well as a short concert immediately following the event.