ROTC commissions new officers
Andrew Cameron | 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.”
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.
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