Eastern Washington University ROTC Color Guard and Cannon Crew Help Support Home Opening Football Game

Cadets from the Eastern Washington University (EWU) Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program supported the home opening EWU football game today at Roos Field.  The Eastern football team was hosting the Lindenwood University Lions from St. Louis.  Before the game, Cadets that compose the Color Guard unit presented the national, state, and university colors in front of a packed Roos Field crowd.  The national anthem was a little bit extra special this game as it was sung in the Salish language by a local Native-American tribe member.

EWU Army ROTC Color Guard (from left): Kaylie Watters, Michael Beier, Adam Burnside, Sarah Polello, & Melinda Leen

During the game the EWU Army ROTC Cannon Crew had an extremely busy first half firing our iconic pack howitzer after every Eastern touchdown.  Our historic pack howitzer first entered service during World War II with the 10th Mountain Division where it saw action against enemy forces during division operations in Italy.

EWU Army ROTC cannon crew in action. 

By the beginning of the second quarter Eastern jumped out to a 31-0 lead over Lindenwood. The Lions would battle back to narrow the lead to 34-17 at halftime, but the Eagles would hold on in the second half to win by a score of 59-31.  The 8 touchdowns scored by Eastern gave our Canon Crew plenty of practice in preparation for upcoming football games.

Cadet Amayia Roberts fires the EWU ROTC howitzer after a home team touchdown.

Cadet Michael Beier fires the EWU ROTC cannon.

The Color Guard and Cannon Crew teams will next be in action in support of the football team on September 28th when Eastern will be home against North Dakota.  We look forward to seeing more of our fans and alumni at the next home game.

Go ROTC!  Go Fighting Eags!

Army ROTC Cannon Crew Begins “The Clash of the Inland Northwest” Cross Country Meet

cross country 2019 Cannon Crew

On Saturday, August 31, 2019 the Eastern Washington University (EWU) hosted a cross country meet called “The Clash of the Inland Northwest” that featured collegiate cross country teams from across the region.  Great job by all our Eastern cross country athletes that competed in the race today.    In support of the meet, the EWU Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Cannon Crew fired its historic World War II era pack howitzer to start each race.

cross country 2019 Cannon Crew

Our historic pack howitzer first entered service during World War II with the 10th Mountain Division where it saw action against enemy forces during division operations in Italy.

Our cannon is pulled by our historic Army Jeep called “Lil Eag” that has been part of the Army ROTC program at Eastern since the 1960’s.

Any student who enrolls into the EWU ROTC program is allowed to participate as part of the Cannon Crew.  The Cannon Crew will be in action again next weekend on September 7th for EWU’s home opening football game against Lindenwood University.  Kickoff is at 13:05 and we invite alumni and friends of the EWU ROTC battalion to stop by and visit with our Cadets conducting Cannon Crew duties that day.  It should be a great time!

Go ROTC!  Go Fighting Eags!

Fighting Eagles Cadets Commemorate Memorial Day With Fallen Heroes Ceremony

On May 22nd, 2019 the Eastern Washington University (EWU) Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) battalion conducted its first of what is planned to be an annual Fallen Heroes Ceremony in rememberance of the 10 former Cadets and 1 Cadre member from EWU that were killed on combat tours.  The ceremony was held at the Roos Field football stadium on the Eastern campus.

Cannon Crew members Cadet Bryce and Kyle Stanton salute during the playing of the National Anthem. 

The Eastern ROTC program known as the “Fighting Eagles” battalion has been producing leaders for the US military since 1952. In the early years of the program all males that attended Eastern had to enroll for two years into ROTC. This caused the program to have over 1,000 Cadets. With the conclusion of the Vietnam War and the end of mandatory military service, Eastern no longer required all males to enroll in ROTC. Today the battalion maintains a size of approximately 100 Cadets.

MS-IV Cadet Scott Hinshaw served as the narrator for the Fallen Heroes Ceremony.

However, it was during the Vietnam era when the ROTC battalion was at its largest, that the program experienced its combat fatalities.  A total of 10x Fighting Eagles alumni and 1x Cadre member from Eastern have been killed in combat during the Vietnam War. Of these heroes, 1x received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, 1x more received the Distinguished Service Cross the nation’s second highest medal for valor, 3x more received Silver Star Medals, the nation’s third highest honor for valor, and 2x more received the Bronze Star, the nation’s fourth highest medal for valor. It is these fallen heroes that we gather here today to commemorate.

Professor of Military Science, LTC Jonathan Stafford addresses the audience during the Fallen Heroes Ceremony.

At the ceremony a Table of Honor was set up with biographical plaques for each of our Fallen Heroes:

Table of Honor with biography for each Fallen Hero.

Below are the Fallen Heroes from the EWU ROTC battalion with the year they graduated or attended ROTC followed by major awards they received:

  • LTC Bob Gregory – Assistant PMS 1961-1962 (Distinguished Service Cross)
  • 1LT Randall Arney – 1967 Graduate
  • MAJ Richard Ator – 1962 Graduate (Silver Star & Bronze Star)
  • PFC Timothy Burchett – ROTC member from 1966-1968 (Silver Star)
  • SFC Bruce Grandstaff – ROTC member from 1952-1954 (Medal of Honor)
  • 1LT Victor Hodson – 1968 Graduate
  • 1LT Owen McCandlis – 1968 Graduate
  • 1LT Randy Turner – 1968 Graduate (Silver Star)
  • 1LT Richard Walker – 1967 Graduate
  • 1LT William Wall – 1968 Graduate (Bronze Star)
  • LT Ronald Wolfe – 1961 graduate

During the ceremony a short biography for each Eastern Cadet and Cadre member killed in action was read to the audience.  After the completion of the biography, our historic howitzer that saw combat action in the European theater of World War II was fired in their honor.  Our cannon is usually fired in support of the home football team, but today it was fired 11 times in honor of our university’s Fallen Heroes.

The Cannon Crew fires our historic World War II pack howitzer. 

The casualties of war are not only those who died in battle, but also the families they left behind. President Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President, wrote of “…the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom,” in a letter during the Civil War to a mother who lost five sons. Each of the heroes we remembered today all had families that loved them dearly as well.

Please keep them and all the military servicemembers who made the ultimate sacrifice close to your heart this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the rest of the year.

EWU ROTC Supports Football Team During Semifinal Playoff Win Against University of Maine

The Eastern Washington University (EWU) Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Fighting Eagles Battalion was out for the final time this year at Roos Field in support of the football team.  The third ranked Eagles were playing the seventh ranked University of Maine Black Bears in the FCS Playoff Semifinal game.  This was the first ever meeting between the two teams and it would become a memorable one for the Eagles and one to forget for the Black Bears.

The EWU ROTC Jeep affectionately called “Lil Eag” is ready to move our historic World War II era howitzer to Roos Field.

Color Guard

EWU ROTC first supported the home team by having the Color Guard present our national and state colors during the playing of the National anthem prior to kickoff.  As they have done for every home football game this year, the Color Guard with precision and professionalism presented the colors at midfield.

The EWU ROTC Color Guard prepares to present the colors prior to the start of the FCS semifinal playoff game at Roos Field.  From left: Cadets Liam Hewey, Michael Beier, Ethan Smart, Christian Goldbach, & Sara Pollelo.

The EWU ROTC Color Guard presents the national and state colors on the 50 yard line at Roos Field.

The EWU ROTC Color Guard marches off of Roos Field after the playing of the National Anthem. 

Cannon Crew

After kickoff the Fighting Eagles Cadets then had a busy day supporting the home team with our popular Cannon Crew.  The EWU ROTC Cannon Crew has been supporting home football games at Eastern Washington for decades with our historic World War II era 75mm pack howitzer.  After every touchdown our Cadets fire the crowd pleasing cannon.  The scoring started early after an interception by the EWU defense inside the five yard line led to an easy first quarter touchdown for the Eagles offense.

Cadet Samuel Coutts fires the cannon after a first quarter touchdown.

In what was expected to be a tight game due to the impressive showing Maine had last week defeating #2 ranked Weber State, the Eagles offense scored two more touchdowns in the first quarter to take a 21-0.  By halftime the Eagles built up their lead to 28-0 and the party was on at Roos Field.

EWU ROTC Cadet Haley Bent fires the 75mm pack howitzer after a first half touchdown.

In the third quarter the Black Bears would cut the deficit to 35-19, but would get no closer.  The Eagles would dominate the rest of the way winning by a final score of 50-19.

Cadet Sara Polello fires the cannon after a second half touchdown.

Way Ahead

On behalf of the EWU ROTC Fighting Eagles Battalion, congratulations to the EWU football team for their impressive playoff victory.  With the victory the EWU football team advances to the FCS College Football Championship game that will be played January 5, 2019 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.  In the FCS Championship game the Eagles will play the North Dakota State Bison.  NDSU is the defending National Champions and have won six of the past seven FCS College Football Championships.  The Eagles will no doubt have their hands full in the national championship game, but the resilience and heart they have played with all season shows they have the ability to beat anyone.

Go Color Guard!  Go Cannon Crew!  Go Eags!