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Jenkins surveys ROTC program at ceremony

Marcela Berrios | Thursday, April 19, 2007

University President Father John Jenkins reviewed all the branches of the ROTC program Wednesday as student cadets and midshipmen marched and saluted him, received awards for outstanding officership and earned the president’s praise during the annual Pass In Review ceremony in the Joyce Center.

A staple of the program’s tradition at Notre Dame, the Pass In Review ceremony brought approximately 300 members of the Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC together to salute their reviewing officer, Jenkins, as well as their commanding officers and first-rate peers.

Cadet Dan Henebery, a senior, said Notre Dame’s ROTC units usually view the Pass In Review as “a way of saying ‘thank you’ to the University” for its continued support of the program.

Jenkins, however, said he viewed the ceremony as “an opportunity to recognize the hard work and the accomplishments of our ROTC students.”

In the midst of the mutual admiration, 10 students accepted awards for their notable performances in the classroom and their roles as officers. Seniors Elaine Kamykowski, Ryan Larson, John Harrington, Erin Smith, Casie Sweeney, Karl Kadon, C. Scott Martin and John-Paul Adrian were among the cadets and midshipmen that received decorations Wednesday.

Henebery received two top honors, including the Patrick Haley Award for mastery of the Army Training Management system.

“Essentially, this is the formal system used by the army in the training of its troops,” Henebery said. “Army cadets, as future officers, must all be well versed in this system.”

He will be commissioned as a lieutenant of Infantry in the spring.

Henebery’s fellow cadet, senior Ashley Shelton, received the Noel Dube award “for participation and leadership in the Arnold Air Society, which is the service organization affiliated with Air Force ROTC,” she said.

While flattered, Shelton was quick to share the recognition with her peers and teammates.

“Our branch of Arnold Air is full of men and women who are highly dedicated to serving the greater community with their time and talents, and the real honor is to have been able to serve with them these past four years,” Shelton said.

Following the presentation of the top ROTC students, Jenkins took the stage to tell the cadets and midshipmen about the marriage their characters as servicemen have with their roles as Notre Dame students.

He said the principles of their military training – service, discipline and selflessness – reflect the principles the University espouses, and he urged them to keep them in their hearts when they serve in the armed forces.

Jenkins said Notre Dame has sought to teach and train the leaders of the country’s military to make sure they will judge wisely and act justly when they face difficult decisions that may determine the fate of incalculable civilians.

The University, he said, will continue to welcome ROTC students on its campus and praise their determination to serve the country.

In March, a group of Catholic Workers from different cities in the Midwest staged an unauthorized demonstration on campus, questioning Notre Dame’s decision to sponsor military programs despite the University’s Catholic – and consequently nonviolent – character.

When asked about the Catholic Workers’ opposition to the ROTC program, Jenkins cited the rewards of educating future military leaders in Notre Dame’s Catholic tradition to guarantee sensible officers at the helm of the armed forces.

“As Catholics, we recognize and respect anybody who may take a position of conscientious pacifism,” Jenkins said. “But at the same time we recognize the importance of educating those who will serve conscientiously in the military services.”

The Pass In Review ceremony has its roots in medieval Europe, when soldiers would march in front of their lords to let them inspect the units and assess their readiness for battle, Henebery said.

He said he was thrilled about the Review because it gives the ROTC branches an opportunity to display precision drilling to their classmates.

“The rest of the year, other students see us going to and from class in uniform, but otherwise what we do is a mystery to them. The Pass in Review is the only time where we do something for the public to see.”