2020 Spring Commissioning Ceremony
On June 12, 2020 the Eastern Washington University (EWU) Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) “Fighting Eagles” battalion conducted its annual Spring commissioning ceremony. The ceremony is normally held in the historic Showalter Hall auditorium on the beautiful EWU campus. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions the ceremony was held outside on the hill behind Cadet Hall and limited to a group of 10 or less. Because of the pandemic restrictions, individual ceremonies were held every 30-minutes through out the day for each Cadet using six foot social distancing guidelines and masks when required. A complete video of the ceremony can be viewed on our EWU Army ROTC Youtube channel:
2020 was the 65th straight year that Eastern has produced officers for the U.S. Army. The EWU ROTC program was established in 1952 and the first commissioning class was in 1955. For academic year 2020, the Eastern ROTC program has commissioned a total of 20 officers into the U.S. Army, which is it’s largest commissioning class in over 20 years. Opening remarks for the ceremony were provided by the EWU Army ROTC, Professor of Military Science, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Jonathan Stafford.
Following the remarks from LTC Stafford, the guest speaker for the ceremony, retired Brigadier General Nikki Griffin Olive gave her remarks. BG Griffin Olive is a Spokane native who graduated from Central Valley High School and is also a 1990 graduate from Eastern’s ROTC program. She traveled from her home outside of Atlanta, Georgia to attend the ceremony.
BG Griffin Olive retired in November 2020 after a 30 year Army career that culminated with her on deployment as the Commanding General (Troop Program Unit), 335th Signal Command (Theater), Operational Command Post (Forward), Kuwait. In addition to being our guest speaker BG Griffin Olive was also inducted as the eighth member of the EWU Military Science Hall of Fame. A plaque in honor of BG Griffin Olive’s career has been added to the Hall of Fame inside of Cadet Hall.
EWU Army ROTC thanks BG Griffin Olive for the inspiring words to our new lieutenants and her incredible service to our great nation. EWU ROTC also thanks the EWU Veterans Resource Center for providing the veteran coins and honor cords for graduation that was given to each new lieutenant. We also thank the EWU Alumni office for providing Eagle4Life pins to each of the new lieutenants.
The Challenge of Becoming an Army Officer
The path to this day was not an easy one for the Class of 2020. All these Cadets conducted up to 4 years of military training in the ROTC program, had to meet rigorous academic requirements, build strong physical fitness, pass the 37-day long ROTC Advanced Camp at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, among of host of other challenging requirements before they could commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Besides the overcoming the typical rigors of the ROTC program, the class of 2020 also had to complete their last quarter college under pandemic conditions. The pandemic restrictions caused all of their classes, leadership labs, and physical training activities to be moved on line. The commissioning ceremony is the first in-person event they have been part of since winter quarter.
The Class of 2020 besides excelling as Cadets, were also very active on campus as well executing cannon crew duties during the home football games, participating in volunteer activities such as our annual blood drive, assisting with color guard, and being part of the Ranger Challenge team. They are a truly remarkable group of young leaders.the Cadets each came forward to be administered the Army Oath of Office to officially commission them as a Second Lieutenant (2LT) into the U.S. Army.
The Army Oath of Office
I (state your name), have been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States in the grade of Second Lieutenant do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter. So help me God.
Following the Officer Oath of Office family members then came up and put on the Second Lieutenant rank on to the new officers. After the pinning of the rank each newly minted officer received their first salute from the enlisted person of their choice. Part of the tradition of the first salute is that the enlisted servicemember receives a silver dollar from the officer.
The first five Cadets who were unable to return to campus commissioned virtually over Zoom. Below are pictures of the Cadets commissioning over Zoom.
Individual In-Person Commissionings
After the five virtual commissions, our final ten Cadets individually commissioned in-person at Cadet Hall. Below are pictures of each Cadet taken during the ceremony. A complete collection of the photos taken can be viewed and downloaded from our EWU Army ROTC Flickr page.
EWU Army ROTC Class of Spring 2020
2LT Erling Anderson / Major: Design Technology/Construction Management and Manufacturing Technology / Branch: Engineers / Distinguished Military Graduate
2LT Megan Anderson / Major: Interdisciplinary Studies / Branch: Ordnance
2LT Jazmin Castrejon / Major: Communications & Spanish / Branch: Transportation
2LT Samuel Coutts / Major: Engineering / Branch: Engineers
2LT Cesar Guzman / Major: Biology / Branch: Signal
2LT Ian House / Major: History / Branch: Field Artillery
2LT Joseph Jordan / Major: Criminal Justice / Branch: Chemical
2LT Sarah Mullen / Major: Nursing / Branch: Nurse Corps
2LT Coy Odiorne / Major: History / Branch: Air Defense Artillery
2LT Austin Pfennig / Major: Communications / Branch: Signal
2LT Marcos Sanchez / Major: Mechanical Engineering / Branch: Engineers / Superior MS-IV Cadet Award Winner
2LT Cheyenne Sweet / Major: Criminal Justice / Branch: Field Artillery
2LT Chad Triplett / Major: Criminal Justice / Branch: Infantry / Distinguished Military Graduate / Admiral George Lotzenhiser Saber Leadership Award / Legion of Valor Bronze Cross
2LT Jacob Villasenor / Major: Business Marketing / Branch: Military Intelligence
2LT Robert Wheeler / Major: Mechanical Engineering / Branch: Armor
Once again congratulations to all of our new lieutenants and remember a complete gallery of pictures from the commissioning ceremony can be found on our EWU Army ROTC Flickr page.
Go ROTC! Go Fighting Eags!