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ROTC commissions new officers

| Friday, May 18, 2018

The culmination of four years of classes, training exercise and tireless dedication, 43 senior cadets from the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) — including officers from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross College, Valparaiso University and Bethel College — will receive their commissions Saturday.

Colonel Jim Bowen, Air Force ROTC commander and department chair of aerospace studies, said the success of the graduating Air Force cadets is due to both their passion to serve their country and their dedication to the ROTC program.

“They’ve all grown from freshman to lieutenants and leaders in our Air Force,” he said. “In four years, they’ve gone from young kids fresh out of high school to real, true servant leaders, and I’m excited to serve beside them. I’m really excited to be walking around in our Air Force and see these young officers from Notre Dame, and know that they’re peers now.”

Dominique DeMoe | The Observer

Voluntary service in ROTC and the armed forces is crucial for providing the United States the “blanket of freedom we all take for granted,” Bowen said.

“This program is how you harness the talent and the energy and the drive of this nation’s youth,” he said. “It’s an all-volunteer force, and the only way that that survives is by young men and women standing up and agreeing to be a part of military service — to stand in harm’s way and protect their fellow citizens.”

Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Pratt, professor of military science for Army ROTC, noted that despite the relatively small size of Notre Dame’s Army ROTC program with 15 senior cadets, nine received the distinguished military graduate designation based on their grades, physical fitness and leadership ability — more than any other program in the Midwest.

“We’ve never had near this many — It’s really just a testament to their hard work and the effort they’ve put in over the years,” he said.

Pratt also discussed the importance of the ROTC program, and said the mission of ROTC is uniquely aligned with Notre Dame’s mission.

“The values, the character and the morals that Notre Dame looks for in its students marries up very well with what the army and the armed services are looking for,” he said. “Service manifests itself in numerous ways — there is service to your community and service to your country, but all of them represent being part of something bigger than yourself, which is really what Notre Dame is about: going off, doing good in the world and contributing and being part of something that’s not just about you, but about giving back, at whatever level. I think that relationship with the University has always been there, and it’s why the students who are part of the program and part of the University do so well.”

The Air Force ROTC will commission six officers, the Army will commission 15 and the Navy will commission 22 officers Saturday. The ceremony will be held in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and the keynote address delivered by General Robin Rand.


Air Force

Harry Aquino — Notre Dame

Michael Balcerzak — Valparaiso University

James Marvin — Notre Dame

Christopher Ruflin — Notre Dame

Rachael Shanek — Valparaiso University

James Slattery — Notre Dame


Grant Arnold — Valparaiso University

Connor Bagwell — Notre Dame

Tyler Belin — Notre Dame

Michelle Brosnan — Notre Dame

Kiana Forti — Notre Dame

Caleb Keehner — Bethel College

Joseph Krivda — Notre Dame

EunYoung Lee — Notre Dame

Julian Minondo — Notre Dame

Drew Montemarano — Notre Dame

Rina Moore — Saint Mary’s

Daniel O’Neill — Notre Dame

Ryan Pitcher — Valparaiso University

George Sutherland — Holy Cross College

Gabriel Williams — Valparaiso University


Isaac Althoff — Notre Dame

Allison Baglini — Notre Dame

Gregory Bombara — Notre Dame

Tim Bowers — Notre Dame

Elizabeth Cannon — Notre Dame

Patrick Colley — Notre Dame

Colin Dablain — Notre Dame

Joseph Faulkner — Notre Dame

Daniel Fisk — Notre Dame

Maloney Foster — Notre Dame

Dylan Goitz — Notre Dame

John Hatfield — Notre Dame

Madison Karlin — Notre Dame

Kieran Kelly — Notre Dame

Patrick Koehr — Notre Dame

Alexandre Lemaignen — Notre Dame

Derek Meyer — Notre Dame

Leah Plofchan — Notre Dame

Kayla Savage — Saint Mary’s

Megan Villandre — Notre Dame

Jasmine Walker — Notre Dame

Thomas Yaeger — Notre Dame

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About Andrew Cameron

Andrew is a senior from Orange County, California. He is an associate news editor at the Observer, and is majoring in Biological Sciences and English. While he has greatly enjoyed his time at Notre Dame, during the winter months he often wonders why he ever left the perennial warmth of Southern California.

Contact Andrew