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ROTC graduates commissioned as officers

| Friday, May 16, 2014

Notre Dame’s three Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs will celebrate the commissioning of their graduates in a special Tri-Military Commissioning Ceremony on Saturday, Captain Mark Williams, assistant professor of aerospace studies and operations flight commander of the Air Force ROTC program, said.

20140409  Emily McConville, ROTC Pass In ReviewEmily McConville | The Observer

Williams said he feels his program’s nine graduating cadets are ready to take the next step in their lives within the Air Force.

“I feel that our cadets are ready to go on and do great things for our nation and the United States Air Force,” he said. “They completed a tough program and have excelled while doing so. I’m extremely proud to have witnessed them grow as individuals and as leaders.”

Lieutenant Colonel and professor of military science John Polhamus said graduating members of the Army ROTC program will work in various roles after Commencement.

“Eight of the graduates will enter service on active duty, while five will serve in the National Guard, and two will serve in the Army Reserves,” Polhamus said. “One graduate will go directly to medical school and will eventually serve as an army doctor. 

“Our graduates will serve in a variety of different Army branches, including military intelligence, engineering, field artillery, infantry, aviation, ordinance, transportation corps and signal corps.”

Polhamus called this year’s graduating class “exceptional.”

“I’ve had the honor to watch them grow and mature as a class for the past three years,” he said. “I have no doubt that they are prepared to enter the Army and serve with distinction as true leaders of character.”

Senior and former tri-military commander Tyler Thomas said he will attend nuclear power school to begin his training to serve aboard submarines.

“All of the U.S. [Army] submarines are powered by nuclear reactors, so it is important officers are technically competent enough to ensure the safe operation and maintenance of nuclear reactors,” Thomas said. “During my one and half years of additional school, I will study a variety of topics including calculus, thermodynamics and physics. After school, I will be stationed aboard a submarine for at least another three and a half years.”

Thomas said Notre Dame’s support of the campus Naval ROTC program was instrumental in his development.

“The University has shown the utmost support of its ROTC units, which has contributed greatly to my professional development,” Thomas said. “The unit has done a great job providing opportunities for the Midshipmen to strive as leaders.”

Senior Maggie Armstrong said she will serve as a personnelist in the United States Air Force.

“Personnelists perform a wide range of duties, included but not limited to performing and administering personnel programs, professional development classification, assignments, promotions, separations, personnel support for contingency operations and personal affairs,” she said. “I’m excited to be moving to a new part of the country and start my life as an Air Force officer.”

Armstrong said her experience in ROTC has been “top-notch.”

“In ROTC, not only have I had the opportunity to come into my own and grow individually as a leader and follower, but I’ve also seen my fellow cadets grow into capable and confident leaders and students,” she said. “Without a doubt, Air Force ROTC has been one of the defining pieces of my Notre Dame experience.”

Senior Chris Lillie said he will stay on campus this summer to be the recruiter for Notre Dame’s Army ROTC program.

“I will be coordinating with the incoming freshmen that have either earned scholarships or have expressed interest in the program,” Lillie said. “After that, since I got the Corps of Engineering as my branch, I will be going down to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, for Engineering Basic Officer Leaders Course for just under 20 weeks. I will learn everything there is to know about being an officer in general, and specifically how to be an engineering officer.”

Lillie said his ROTC experience has been invaluable to his academic and professional experience at Notre Dame.

“We have an extremely good program here, and we all feel extremely prepared to enter the Army,” Lillie said. “Not only have I learned so much here, but I also have developed great relationships with the people around me in the program.”

Polhamus said he has the utmost confidence in the 2014 ROTC graduates.

“They will make themselves and Notre Dame very proud as they lead America’s sons and daughters.”

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