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 Battalion Opens New Obstacle Course on the EWU Campus

EWU Army ROTC on May 4, 2021 opened its new obstacle course adjacent to Cadet Hall on the EWU campus.  The obstacle course opening was attended by the 8th ROTC Brigade Commander Colonel Ben Bird, the EWU President Dr. David May, many other college officials, alumni, and supporters.

EWU Army ROTC Professor of Military Science, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Stafford provides opening remarks before the opening of the obstacle course.

The $10,000 obstacle course was funded by alumni donations and allows EWU Army ROTC to better train Cadets attending Advanced Camp, competing for Airborne/Air Assault schools, and the Ranger Challenge team.

EWU Army ROTC Cadet, John Drohman hurdles over an obstacle.

Cadet Isabell Pannell climbs a wall obstacle.

Cadet Charles Golding climbs the rope obstacle.

Cadets were timed as they ran through the obstacle course with the Cadet receiving the top time receiving the “Iron Eagle” trophy from the PMS.  MS-1 Cadet Nik Chapple ended up having the fastest time during the inaugural opening of the obstacle course.

Cadet Nik Chapple holds his Iron Eagle trophy.

At the end of the obstacle course demonstration COL Bird presented the PMS, LTC Jonathan Stafford and the Assistant PMS, Major Nick Carbaugh with their end of tour awards.  Both officers served for three years at EWU Army ROTC and are now moving on to the next assignments, LTC Stafford to Japan and MAJ Carbaugh to Germany.

COL Ben Bird the 8th ROTC Brigade commander presents Meritorious Service Medals to LTC Jon Stafford and MAJ Nick Carbaugh.

More pictures from the obstacle course opening can be viewed 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.

EWU Army ROTC Sponsors Eagles Madden Challenge 2021

Eagles Madden 2021

Eagles Madden 2021

This year in conjunction with the restart of the Big Sky football season, EWU Army ROTC is sponsoring the Eagles Madden Challenge 2021 video game tournament.  The tournament will begin on March 19th and registration is currently open until March 18th at 7PM Pacific time.  Anyone can enter the tournament; so if you are current student at Eastern, someone still in high school, or alumni it doesn’t matter you can enter.  There is also cash prizes for the winners with the overall winner receiving $150.

The tournament will be played over X-box One with the following rules:

Exhibition Mode

  • Fatigue: On
  • Injuries: Off
  • Quarter Length: 5 Minutes
  • Game Skill: All-Madden
  • Accelerated Clock: Off
  • Weather: Clear

Full details of the rules, the various cash prizes, and how to register for the tournament can be found at this link.  Feel free to comment or send us a message through our Contact page with any questions you may have.  Go Eags!

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

EWU Army ROTC Cadets on the Defensive During Leadership Lab

Defense Lab

On March 4, 2021 the Cadets from the Eastern Washington University (EWU) Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program conducted it’s final Leadership Lab of the Winter Quarter before departing the Winter Field Training Exercise (FTX) this weekend.  The Leadership Lab was held on the Cheney Waterworks property near the EWU campus.  After drawing equipment and conducting pre-combat checks the Cadets moved out to their training locations that were spread out around the property.

Cadets move out to conduct training.

Like our prior labs, the MS-III Class, which is comprised of Junior level students, led the squads during the training because they are preparing to attend Advanced Camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky within the next 3-4 months. Providing as realistic training as possible to prepare them for camp is extremely important since passing Advanced Camp is a mandatory requirement for all Cadets who want to commission as an officer in the U.S. Army after graduation.

MS-III Cadet, Patrick Coleman takes a defensive position during Leadership Lab training.

MS-III Cadet, Olivia Roble holds a defensive position.

The focus for this lab was to train the Cadets on how to conduct a defense.  While the Cadets were in their patrol base the squad leaders had to put their squad members out into security positions to defend it.  While the Cadets were pulling security other Cadets who role played the Opposing Force (OPFOR) element launched an attack on the patrol base.

MS-IV Cadet, Austin Bristow role played as the OPFOR during the Leadership Lab.

After the OPFOR elements were neutralized the Cadets then ended the exercise by conducting an After Action Report (AAR) that was facilitated by MS-IV Cadet and Cadre facilitators to bring out lessons learned from the training.  Overall it was a great lab that prepared the Cadets to excel during the upcoming weekend Winter FTX.

Eagle Strong!

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