On December 5, 2019 the Eastern Washington University (EWU) Army ROTC “Fighting Eagles” Battalion hosted a Branching Ceremony at Cadet Hall. The ceremony was held to recognize the 18 seniors from the EWU ROTC Class of 2020 by officially pinning on to their Cadet uniforms the branch the Army recently assigned them. To help pin on the branch insignia and recognize the Cadets being pinned were various alumni and friends of the EWU Army ROTC program, who either attended or participated via video.
The US Army has 17 different branches for Cadets to compete for. Being selected into one of the branches is the culmination of an assessment process that begins from the very first day a Cadet enters the ROTC program.
The Army’s accessions process ranks all Cadets across the nation based off of factors such as their GPA, physical fitness test score, Advanced Camp performance, volunteer work, Color Guard participation, Ranger Challenge team, etc. During the beginning of their senior year, Cadets rank in order of preference which of the 17 branches in the Army they want to assess into. The Army’s accessions process then uses the various factors mentioned to help decide which branch they will receive. EWU Army ROTC continues to score well above the Cadet Command average with the vast majority of our Cadets receiving their number one branch choice.
The first Cadet to pin on their branch insignia during the ceremony was Cadet Jazmin Castrejon who branched into the Transportation Corps. Transportation officers are responsible for moving people, equipment, and supplies around the world by sea, air, and land. To pin the Cadet Castrejon was former Transportation officer and retired Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Mellick from the EWU ROTC class of 1967.
The next Cadet to receive their branch was Megan Anderson who branched into the Ordnance Corps. Ordnance officers are responsible for the maintenance of Army weapon systems, ammunition, missiles, and vehicles. Via a video presentation, fellow Ordnance officer, 2nd Lieutenant Tyler Bergman from the EWU Class of 2019 congratulated Cadet Anderson on receiving her branch and what it means to be a Ordnance officer.
Cadet Joseph Jordan was not able to attend the ceremony, but he branched into the Chemical Corps. The Chemical Corps is the branch of the United States Army tasked with defending against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons. Some branches do not need as many 2nd Lieutenants as others, thus Cadet Jordan will spend approximately 3-4 years in the Chemical Corps before transferring to his control branch which is the Signal Corps. This is called serving a branch detail.
(Distinguished Military Graduate)
Cadets Robert Wheeler and Jameson Palmer both branched into Armor. Armor’s mission is to close with and destroy the enemy using fire, maneuver, and shock action in armored vehicles. Cadet Palmer was not able to attend the ceremony, but Cadet Wheeler was pinned on his Armor insignia by LTC Stafford. Cadet Wheeler is also serving a branch detail and once complete with his 3-4 years in Armor he will transfer over to the Signal Corps. Besides branching Armor, Cadet Palmer was also selected as a Distinguished Military Graduate which means he ranked in the Top 20% of Cadets across the nation.
(Distinguished Military Graduate)
The next Cadet to branch was Chad Triplett into the Infantry. Branching into the Infantry is one of the most competitive branches in the Army to be assessed into. As an Infantry officer he will be responsible for leading the infantry and combined armed forces during land combat. Cadet Triplett was also recognized as a Distinguished Military Graduate. To pin Cadet Triplett was retired Brigadier General (BG) Neal Sealock. BG Sealock was a 1974 graduate of EWU that commissioned as an Infantry officer through the university's ROTC program.
(Distinguished Military Graduate)
The next Cadets to pin on their branch insignia were Marcos Sanchez, Erling Anderson, and Samuel Coutts who branched into the Corps of Engineers. Cadet Erling Anderson was also recognized as a Distinguished Military Graduate making him one of the Top 20% of Cadets across the nation. An Engineer officer is responsible for providing full support to the wide range of engineering duties in the Army. They can help build structures, develop civil works programs and even provide combat support. On hand to pin the Engineers insignia on to the Cadets were Captain Samuel Prichard and Captain Kennith Brown from the Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Both officers made the drive up from Walla Walla to not only pin our Cadets branching into the Engineers, but also to educate our other Cadets on hand for the ceremony of the opportunities in the Corps of Engineers.
The next Cadets to receive their branch were Austin Pfennig and Cesar Guzman who both branched into the Signal Corps. A Signal officer is responsible for providing communications and computer capabilities to Army forces spread across the world.
The next Cadets to pin their branch insignia were Cadets Cheyenne Sweet and Ian House who branched into the Field Artillery. Cadet Sweet is branching straight into Field Artillery while Cadet House is on a branch detail for 3-4 years before transferring into his control branch of Military Intelligence. A Field Artillery officer is able to employ indirect firepower with cannons, rockets, and missile systems. They are also able to coordinate for supporting fires from air power and naval gunfire. On hand to pin the branches on to both Cadets were Field Artillery officers, 1st Lieutenant Miranda Munsell from the EWU Army ROTC Class of 2016 and current ROTC Cadre member Captain (Promotable) Nicholas Carbaugh. Both Cadets additionally received a further congratulations on branching into the Field Artillery from 2nd Lieutenant Kyle Isaacson via video who is currently attending Field Artillery training at Ft Sill, Oklahoma.
The next Cadets to receive their branch was Jacob Villasenor and Melinda Leen into the Military Intelligence branch. A Military Intelligence officer has a wide variety of functions they are responsible for. An MI officer provides tactical intelligence, counter-intelligence, signals and reconnaissance information to support unit commanders. To congratulate the Cadets for branching into Military Intelligence via video, was 2nd Lieutenant Haley Isaacson from the EWU Army ROTC class of 2019.
Army Nurse Corps
The next Cadets to receive their branch were Josiah Bryan and Sarah Mullen. Both Cadets are part of the largest degree program in EWU Army ROTC, nursing. Both will serve as healthcare professionals by branching into the Army Nurse Corps. An Army Nurse officer serves in military hospitals around the world where they will train and serve in various clinical specialties such as in the Emergency Room, Operating Room, Community Health, etc.
Air Defense Artillery
The 18th and final Cadet to have their branch pinned was Coy Odiorne who branched into the Air Defense Artillery. The mission of Air Defense Artillery is to protect the force and selected geopolitical assets from aerial attack, missile attack, and surveillance. EWU Army ROTC Professor of Military Science and Air Defense Artillery officer, LTC Jonathan Stafford pinned the crossed cannons and missile insignia onto Cadet Odiorne.
Following the Branching Ceremony the Cadets shared cake and drink with their fellow Cadets, alumni, university officials, friends, and family that attended the ceremony. The EWU Army ROTC Cadre would like to thank BG(R) Neal Sealock, LTC(R) Jerry Mellick, CPT Samuel Pritchard, CPT Kennith Brown, and 1LT Miranda Munsell for traveling to Cadet Hall to participate in the pinning ceremony. We would also like to thank 2LT Bryce Stanton, 2LT Scott Hinshaw, 2LT Kyle Stanton, 2LT Tyler Bergman, 2LT Kyle Isaacson, and 2LT Haley Isaacson for providing videos congratulating the Cadets as well.
Leaders make time for things that are important and congratulating these Cadets on the significance of their branching shows how important it was to these great leaders. Thank you and Go Fighting Eags!