10 Fighting Eagles Cadets Commission as Officers into the U.S. Army

On June, 18 2021, the Eastern Washington University (EWU) Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) “Fighting Eagles” battalion conducted its Spring Commissioning Ceremony. Due to COVID mitigation measures, the ceremony was held in the EWU Fieldhouse with commissionees and guests wearing masks.  The moderator for the commissioning ceremony was EWU Army ROTC Recruiting and Operations Officer (ROO), Ms. Linda Moody:

Ms. Linda Moody served as the moderator for the ceremony.

The path to this day was not an easy one for the commissionees. All the Cadets conducted up to 4 years of military training in the ROTC program, had to meet rigorous academic requirements, build strong physical fitness, among a host of other challenging requirements.  The most challenging thing these young leaders had to face was having to commission in the midst of a deadly pandemic.  The commissionees had to complete over a year of school entirely online and conduct their ROTC training partially online and in person with specified health and safety protocols.  They are a truly remarkable group of young leaders well deserving to commission as Army officers.

Spring 2021 EWU Army ROTC Commissioning Class.

The commissioning ceremony began with the singing of the national anthem followed by opening remarks by the EWU Army ROTC Professor of Military Science, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Jonathan Stafford.

Following the remarks from LTC Stafford, the guest speaker retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Gary Nisker from the EWU Class of 1976 gave his speech.  Chief Nisker provided some inspiring words to our Cadets about his time in ROTC to include a few humorous moments.

Following CW5 Nisker’s speech he was then inducted into the EWU Military Science Hall of Fame.  EWU Army ROTC appreciates CW5 Nisker speaking to our Cadets and we congratulate him on becoming part of the Hall of the Fame:

LTC Stafford presents CW5 Nisker with the plaque that will hang in Cadet Hall inducting him into the EWU Military Science Hall of Fame.

After CW5 Nisker’s speech the Cadets the Cadets each came forward to be administered the Army Oath of Office to officially commission them as a 2LT into the U.S. Army.

2LT J.P. Dutton (left) receives the oath of office from his father retired Air Force Colonel James Dutton.

The Cadets then had family members pin their rank on their uniforms:

2LT Collin Galbreath is pinned his rank by his parents.

2LT Austin Bristow was pinned his rank by his uncle and grandmother.

2LT Megan Baker (center) was pinned her rank by her parents.

After the pinning, the Cadets then received their first salute from a current or former enlisted person.  After receiving the salute the Cadet then gives the enlisted person a silver dollar:

2LT Christian Goldbach receives his first salute from his brother, Army Staff Sergeant Marcus Goldbach.

2LT John Drohman (left) receives his first salute from retired Navy Chief Warrant Officer 3 Thomas Clark.

2LT Liam Hewey receives his first salute from his father retired Air Force Master Sergeant Robert Hewey.

Congratulations to the following Cadets for commissioning as officers into the U.S. Army:

  • 2LT Megan Baker / Nurse
  • 2LT Austin Bristow / Transportation
  • 2LT John Drohman / Engineer
  • 2LT James Dutton / Engineer
  • 2LT Collin Galbreath / Engineer
  • 2LT Destin Garcia / Quartermaster
  • 2LT Christian Goldbach / Aviation
  • 2LT Liam Hewey / Armor
  • 2LT Samantha Knight / Nurse
  • 2LT Christopher Millward / Air Defense Artillery

Note: You can view many more pictures of all the commissionees on our EWU Army ROTC Flickr page.

Fighting Eagles Cadets Earn the Norwegian Foot March Badge

norewegian foot march badges

A Friday night is usually when college students are ready to wind down after a busy week. However, for Cadets in the Eastern Washington University 🦅 Army ROTC program they instead found themselves on bus to Ellensburg, WA to complete the 18.6 mile long Norwegian Foot March.  The foot march is one of the few foreign service badges that U.S. Army personnel can compete for and wear on their active duty uniforms.

Cadets stand in line to complete registration and weigh their rucks prior to the start of the Norwegian Foot March.

EWU Army ROTC Cadets and Cadre pose before the start of the Norwegian Foot March at Ellensburg, WA.

The foot march has to be completed before sunrise on a dirt trail.  This year’s foot march hosted by Central Washington University Army ROTC was held on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail in Ellensburg and began at 9:00 🕘 PM.  During the ruck each Cadet had to carry 25 pounds of weight in their ruck. See below for more details about the standards for the Norwegian Foot March:

norwegian foot march standards

Cadets that could complete the march within the required times based off of gender and age received the Norwegian military’s Marsjmerket badge to wear on their uniforms.

norwegian foot march times

The late start, unimproved trail surface, and windy conditions during the march made for a challenging competition.  The teamwork and shared motivation during the march allowed the vast majority of EWU Army ROTC Cadets to meet the required time to earn their badge.

Cadets Everett Kuhnel, (left) and Destin Garcia (right) stand next to EWU Army ROTC Professor of Military Science, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Stafford (center) after the completion of the ruck march.

norewegian foot march badges

Great job by the all the Cadets that earned their badge and big thanks to CWU Army ROTC for inviting us to participate in this great event.  EWU Army ROTC plans to host the next Norwegian Foot March event sometime in the next academic year in Cheney for Cadets, active duty, National Guard, Reservists in the Spokane region to attend.  Monitor our EWU Army ROTC social media channels for the latest information on when the event will occur. Eagle Strong! 🦅💪


The Army ROTC FY 2022 Accessions Timeline

The FY22 Accessions Timeline has been released for Cadets that will be commissioning in the Fall 2021 and the Spring 2022 Semesters. Cadets in this accessions window will be the second cohort of Cadets to receive their branches through the Army’s new talent based branching process.

Upcoming Key Dates:

  • 20 April – 29 August – HireVue Interview Period
  • 20 April – 29 August – Update interim branch preferences in the TBB website
  • 01 September – If AV “candidate” – Class 1A Flight Physicals completed
  • 01 Sept. – 05 Oct. – Branches review files and conduct follow up interviews
  • 6-7 October – Educational Delay Board
  • 8 October – If AV “candidate” – Class 1A Flight Physicals Completed
  • 16 September – Component Selection results released
  • 18 October – Branch Ratings released to Cadets via TBB Website
  • 25 October – Cadet Final Branch Preferences Due in TBB website
  • 01 – 06 November – USACC Branching Board
  • 09 November – Release Branch Results for Dec./Jan. Graduates
  • 01 December – Release of Spring 21 Branching Assignments


From 20 April-29 August, Cadets branching in FY22 need to be conducting their interviews with the branches they are interested in over the HireVue app.  Any Cadet that has not received an email from HireVue needs to immediately contact their HRA.  The branches will view the HireVue interviews and then contact Cadets for follow up interviews.  These interviews are extremely important in the branching process and Cadets need to take them seriously.  Make sure you either wear your uniform or dress formally for the interview.  Ensure you shave, get a haircut, and groom yourself appropriately.  You only have one chance to make a good first impression!


Component Selection

By October 25, 2021 all Cadets will need to submit into the Talent Based Branching website what their final component choice is.  By component this means whether you want to go on Active Duty or be part of the National Guard or Army Reserves.  Cadets that are on a Guaranteed Forces Duty (GRFD) scholarship must access into either the National Guard or Army Reserves as specified in the scholarship contract.  On September 16, 2021 is when accessing Cadets will learn will component they accessed into.  The below chart provides details on how the component selection process works.


Form April 20th – August 29th is when Cadets must have their interim branch preferences updated on the Talent Based Branching (TBB) website as well. Cadets must also specify on the TBB website whether they want to submit a Branch Active Duty Service Obligation (ADSO) for the branches they are interested in.  Cadets can now submit as many Branch ADSO’s as they want.  What the ADSO does is move the Cadet to the top of the bin that the branch has rated the cadet.  Each branch gives Cadets either a “Least Preferred”, “Preferred”, or “Most Preferred” rating.  The ADSO does not allow Cadets to jump bins, it just puts the Cadet at the top of their rated bin.

talent based branching

Cadets also volunteer for branch detail assignments through the TBB website as well.  A branch detail means you serve in one branch for your lieutenant years before transitioning into another branch when promoted to Captain.  Volunteering for a branch detail can increase your odds of receiving a high demand branch.

On October 18, 2021 all accessing Cadets will receive their branch ratings through the TBB website.  Cadets can then use these preferences to inform their final branching decision.  For example if a Cadet has Infantry initially ranked #1 and Armor #2, but Infantry gave the Cadet a “preferred” rating and Armor gave a “most preferred” rating; the Cadet has the opportunity to change Armor to #1 to ensure they branch armor.  Any changes to Cadet branch preferences based off of the interim branch preferences need to be made by October 25, 2021.  For Cadets who are commissioning in the Fall 2021 term they will receive their final branching assignment on November 09, 2021 and Cadets commissioning in the Spring 2021 term will receive their branch assignment on December 01, 2021.

Good luck to all the FY21 Cadets going through the new branching process.  If anyone has any questions regardless of which ROTC program they belong to, feel free to leave a comment and we will get back to you with a response.

Go ROTC!  Go Fighting Eags! 

Eagles, Pirates, Bulldogs, & Coug Cadets Excel During the Operation Agile Leader FTX

From 2-5 April 2021 Cadets from the Fight Eagles and Bulldog Army ROTC Battalions deployed out to Camp Seven Mile, Washington to conduct Phase 2 of Operation Agile Leader (OAL).  The two battalions are composed of Cadets from Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Whitworth University, and Washington State University-Spokane College of Nursing.  OAL was developed by U.S. Army Cadet Command to train senior Cadets on skills that were traditionally trained at Advanced Camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky that was cancelled last summer due to the pandemic.  This skills are instead trained at the regional level with combined FTX’s with nearby ROTC programs.  Operation Agile Leader is the top priority this year for the U.S. Army Cadet Command.  Phase 1 of OAL was completed back in October 2020 and Phase II completes the remainder of the training tasks the Cadets missed by not attending Advanced Camp.

Individual Training

On the first day of the FTX the Fighting Eagles Cadets had a very early 4:45 AM formation at Cadet Hall to draw equipment and gear.  The Cadets then boarded buses at 5:30 AM to first go to Gonzaga University to draw weapons before one group departed to Camp Seven Mile and another to the Medical Lake Range.

EWU Army ROTC Cadets board a bus to depart for OAL training.

The The tasks for the Cadets at the range was to zero their M4 rifle and then qualify using the Army’s new marksmanship standards.  After the Cadets qualified they then had to attend Call For Fire Training (CFFT).  During this training the Cadets learned how to call in artillery fire on an enemy’s position.  After attending the training they than had to pass a practical exercise by calling in fire using a terrain model.

Cadets engage targets with their M4 rifles at the Medical Lake Range.

MAJ Baggot (GU) teaches the Call For Fire Training class.

Back at Camp Seven Mile the group of Cadets there conducted day land navigation training.  Each Cadet had to look for three points spread out over an extremely large wooded and hilly area. The Cadets had to successfully find 2 of the 3 points within the allotted time in order to pass the course.

Cadet Kayla Rambo from Whitworth University conducts day land navigation training.

Following the completion of the day land navigation course the Cadets that afternoon conducted grenade familiarization training.  During the training the Cadets learned how to hold, arm, and throw training hand grenades.

Cadets conduct hand grenade familiarization training.

Following the completion of this training the Cadets then conducted a buddy team fire and maneuver course.  During the course two Cadets would bound forward and fire their blanks at simulated enemies.  At the end of the course each Cadet then had to throw a hand grenade simulator at a bunker to try and destroy it.

A Cadet throws a simulator grenade at a bunker.

After completing this training the Cadets then moved into night land navigation.  During this training the Cadets had to find 2 points in the hilly and wooded terrain in complete darkness.  This is always the most challenging test for land navigation and the Cadets received great training on this course to prepare them for upcoming Advanced Camp training.

Cadets receive a safety briefing before departing on the night land navigation course.

Easter Service

Easter Sunday occurred during the OAL FTX.  Gonzaga University was able to support those who recognize Easter with a field service.  Father Dan Mai traveled out to Camp Seven Mile and set up a field ministry in the middle of the forest for Cadets to participate.  We appreciate Father Mai for supporting the Cadets during the OAL FTX.

Father Mai provides an Easter service to Cadets at the OAL FTX.

Father Mai provides a blessing during Easter services.

Platoon STX Lanes

For Days 3 & 4 the Cadets moved into the Platoon Situational Training Exercise (STX) lanes of the OAL FTX.  During these two days the Cadets were divided up into three platoons and had to conduct platoon level recon, ambush, attack, movement-to-contact, and defense lanes.  MS-IV Cadets that needed to complete their OAL requirements and MS-III Cadets attending Advanced Camp this summer filled into the key leadership positions.  The training in these leadership positions provided all them valuable experience for future training.

Cadets fire a crew served weapon during Operation Agile Leader training.

EWU Army ROTC Cadet, Josh Browning takes part in Platoon STX lanes during the OAL FTX.


Following the completion of Platoon STX lanes training the Cadets then reassembled at the major holding area to begin weapons cleaning.  Cleaning weapons is an important recovery activity after any FTX since the weapons are turned in to the Washington National Guard.

Cadets clean weapons at Camp Seven Mile.

After completing weapons cleaning, the Cadets then tore down the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) tents and prepped their gear for movement.  They then walked with their gear to the loading up point to take buses back to their respective universities.

Cadets load buses to return to their respective universities.


Overall the OAL #2 FTX was a fantastic training event for the Cadets that participated from all four universities.  Congratulations to all our MS-IV Cadets that received their Advanced Camp credit to commission as Army officers this year.  Additionally the FTX provided great training for all the MS-III Cadets that are heading off to Advanced Camp this summer.   Great job by all the Cadets involved who are clearly better prepare to succeed in ROTC than before the FTX.  Eagle Strong!

Note: You can view and download many more pictures from the FTX on our EWU Army ROTC Flickr page.

Winter FTX Challenges Fighting Eagles Cadets on Squad Level Tactical Skills

Winter FTX

From March 5-6, 2021, The “Fighting Eagles” battalion from the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at Eastern Washington University (EWU) conducted their winter field training exercise (FTX). This FTX was the culmination of all the training the Cadets have conducted at weekly Leadership Labs this quarter. The primary goal of the FTX was to test our MS-III (Junior) Cadets on leading a squad sized element and giving tactical experience to the MS-II (sophomore) and MS-I (freshman) Cadets in a field environment.

Cheney Waterworks Property

On Friday the Cadets and Cadre worked to setup the lanes, draw rifles, and ammunition.  On Saturday morning the Cadets then met up at 0400 at Cadet Hall and deployed out to the Cheney Waterworks for the FTX.  At the Waterworks there was 5 training lanes that the Cadets would be evaluated on during the FTX:

  1. movement to contact
  2. squad attack
  3. ambush
  4. area recon
  5. defense

The Cadets for the FTX were issued M4 rifles and M249 Squad Automatic Weapons (SAW) with blank rounds along with SINCGARS radios.  Carrying the real weapons, blank ammunition, and tactical radios allowed the Cadets to experience what it is like to carry the additional weight for an extended period of time.  The weapons loaded with blank ammunition also allowed the Cadets to practice weapons safety by enforcing procedures to prevent negligent discharges.

For the Movement to Contact lane, the squad leader received the mission and went through their troop leading procedures (TLPs) to execute the mission. As the squad moved through the lane, they received fire from an enemy Opposing Force (OPFOR) composed of MS-IV and National Guard role players. Once the squad received fire, the squad leader maneuvered the squad to counterattack the enemy and eliminate the threat.

Movement to Contact
Cadets react to enemy contact.

For the Squad Attack lane the squad leader knew the exact location of the OPFOR.  Once the squad leader finished their planning and rehearsals, they would lead their squad near the location and set up their support by fire and assaulting element.  Once the squad leader initiated the fight, the support by fire element would fire on the enemy while the assaulting element would go through the objective to clear it.  The squad attack lane was made extra hard due to the need stealthy approach the enemy without being detected while simultaneously trying to get around a small lake.

Cadet Patrick Coleman issues orders to his squad over the radio.

For the Ambush lane the squad leader had to position their squad on the objective where the enemy will be traveling through. After planning, the squad leader would position their squad in the path that the OPFOR would be walking through. Once the OPFOR entered a designated kill zone the squad would initiate the ambush.  An added challenge for this lane was that the OPFOR after being attacked would retreat into an old junk yard.  This meant the Cadets had to maneuver and fight through the junkyard to eliminate the enemy threat.

Cadet Adam Burnside assaults through a junkyard ambush.

The next lane was the Area Recon. Here the squad leader had to plan for a mission where their squad had to locate an enemy force without detected.  While observing the enemy, the Cadets had to collect Priority Intelligence Requirements (PIR) which were then sent to the higher command element via radio.  The added challenge on this lane was that the Cadets conducting the recon had to cross a road which is known tactically as a linear danger area without being detected.

Cadet Josh Browning looks for the enemy.

The final lane was squad level defense.  While in a patrol base the squad was attacked by the OPFOR.  To help the Cadets detect the OPFOR trying to infiltrate their perimeter, trip wires that ignited signal flares were used.  This added extra realism to the lane that feature much fire, smoke, and noise in an effort to create a chaotic environment to challenge the Cadets.

A member of the OPFOR sets off a trip flare during the platoon defense lane.

With a very early morning start, cold temperatures, and constant activity, the EWU ROTC Cadets where tested both physically and mentally during the Winter FTX. This training is used to prepare our MS-III Cadets for Advance Camp at Ft. Knox, Kentucky this summer.  Advanced Camp is a requirement for all MS-III Cadets to pass in order to commission as Army officers.  The 37-day Advanced Camp is why the Fighting Eagles battalion conducts challenging training to prepare the MS-III Cadets as much as possible for camp.  Next quarter the battalion has even more challenging training planned in conjunction with Gonzaga University ROTC to further prepare the Cadets to succeed during summer training.

Go ROTC!  Go Fighting Eags!

Note: You can see and download more pictures from the Winter FTX from our EWU Army ROTC Flickr page.

Inside EWU Features ROTC Nursing Cadets Making a Difference

A couple of our nursing Cadets were featured on the university’s Inside EWU webpage for their efforts to help administer the COVID-19 vaccine to the public in the Spokane area.  Here is an excerpt:

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Eastern Washington University students continue to show they are Eagle Strong by supporting the ongoing and ever changing public health efforts. EWU ROTC nursing cadets are taking action to help our region recover by administering vaccines to educators and volunteering at vaccine sites.  [Inside EWU]

You can read more at the link, but we appreciate the university reporter Miranda Reed for reaching out and writing the article about our outstanding nursing Cadets.  EWU Army ROTC offers nursing scholarships to incoming and current students at Eastern. If you are looking to become a health care professional while serving your country and making an impact locally consider enrolling into an ROTC course.  More details about our nursing program and the scholarships available can be read at the below link.  Eagle Strong!

Nursing Scholarship