2019 Eastern Washington University (EWU) graduate 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) Haley Isaacson became the first reported alum from the university’s Army ROTC program to be awarded the Expert Soldier Badge during testing held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Washington.
In effort to improve the tactical skills of Soldiers and increase individual and unit readiness, the U.S. Army in Fall 2019 created the new Expert Solider Badge (ESB). To qualify to take the ESB test, Soldiers must first pass the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), qualify “Expert” on the M4 or M16 rifle, and be recommended by their chain of command. During the five day test the participants have to again take the ACFT, conduct day & night land navigation courses, and be tested on their Warrior Tasks and Drills that include:
- Building fighting positions
- Search an Enemy Prisoner of War
- Reacting to an improvised explosive device (IED) attack
- React to chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear contaminated areas
- Weapons proficiency lanes
- Conducting a nine-line medical evacuation and many other skills
After completing the Warrior and Tasks and drill testing, the participants then need to complete a 12-mile ruck march in under 3 hours. Standards for the ESB are age and gender neutral. In October 2019, the Army conducted its first ESB testing where only 11 of 56 soldiers passed. During testing in November 2019 only 3 out of 100 soldiers passed which demonstrates the difficulty of receiving this badge. During June 2020 testing at JBLM, 2LT Isaacson was one of only 39 soldiers at JBLM to pass the test held at JBLM from June 22-26. Major General Xavier T. Brunson and Command Sergeant Major Robin Bolmer, the 7th Infantry Division Command team recognized all the competitors that earned their badge during an award ceremony.
2LT Isaacson was a Distinguished Military Graduate from EWU’s Army ROTC program in 2019. She currently serves as a Military Intelligence officer in the 2-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team at JBLM. Here is what 2LT Isaacson had to say when asked about any advice she would like to give to EWU Army ROTC Cadets interested in competing for the Expert Soldier Badge in the future:
The ESB is something that challenges you physically and mentally with its 34 stations and a final 12-mile ruck march. It is something that you should go after early in your career to set you apart from your peers. You get the chance to train alongside infantry personnel who are competing for the Expert Infantryman Badge (EIB) where about 80% of the ESB stations are the same. It is a unique experience to work with soldiers you don’t work with on a day to day basis. Receiving this is very rewarding especially when you’ve been training for it for about a month.
Hard work pays off, Go Eags🦅!
EWU Army ROTC congratulates 2LT Isaacson on her accomplishment. She has definitely shown that she is Eagle Strong!
The 2021 Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) National Scholarship season began on June 12, 2020. Army ROTC National Scholarships are for qualified high school seniors planning to attend a four-year university and are interested in training to become a future officer in the U.S. Army. If you have already graduated high school please contact the Eastern Washington University (EWU) ROTC office because we have other scholarship options available.
EWU ROTC Cadets from the class of 2019 commission as officers into the U.S. Army.
ROTC National Scholarship Requirements
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be between the ages of 17 and 26
- Have a high school GPA of at least 2.50
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent
- Score a minimum of 1000 on the SAT (math/verbal) or 19 on the ACT (excluding the required writing test scores)
- Meet physical standards
- Agree to accept a commission and serve in the Army on Active Duty or in a Reserve Component (Army Reserve or Army National Guard)
ROTC National Scholarship Process:
Step #1: You need to complete an on-line application that you can access through this link. Applicants must initiate the on-line application by 4 February 2020. Remember your login and password for your cadet portal. Your login is the email you use to establish your account.
Step #2: Submit high school transcripts (at least through junior year) and SAT or ACT scores. You can upload PDFs through your account in the Cadet portal.
Step #3: Take the ROTC Basic Fitness Test. A coach or PE teacher can administer this for you.
Step #4: Conduct an interview at one of the university ROTC programs (ideally where your first choice of college is). We can do this any time here at Eastern after you start the on-line application. We are more than willing to conduct a Skype interview if you live several hours away. Please reach us through our Contact page or call 509-359-6110 to setup an interview.
Make sure to read the below articles to help you with the ROTC scholarship process:
ROTC National Scholarship Timeline
The Army understands high school students could still be in the process of taking SATs and ACTs during their senior year. Because of this the Army has three different boards that meet throughout the year to select ROTC scholarship winners. Below is the board timeline.
09 October 2020: All four steps listed above must be completed on the GoArmy site before this date to be considered by the first board. The application will not be considered if any of the steps are not completed. A benefit of completing the ROTC packet in time for the first board is that even if your packet is not selected it will be looked at again by the second and third boards thus increasing your chances of receiving a scholarship.
19 October 2020: This is the date that the first board convenes and reviews every packet that was submitted by the 09 October 2020 deadline.
15 January 2021: All four steps listed above must be completed on the GoArmy site before this date to be considered by the second board. The application will not be considered if any of the steps are not completed. A benefit of completing the ROTC packet in time for the second board is that even if your packet is not selected it will be looked at again by the third board thus increasing your chances of receiving a scholarship.
25 January 2021: This is the date that the second board convenes and reviews every packet that was submitted by the 15 January 2021 deadline.
4 February 2021: This is the deadline to initiate new 2019-2020 ROTC scholarship applications. If an application is not initiated by1159pm EST it will not be considered by the final board. Those who already have an application open can continue to modify it passed this deadline.
05 March 2021: All four steps listed above must be completed on the GoArmy site before this date to be considered by the third board. The application will not be considered if any of the steps are not completed.
15 March 2021: Board convenes and runs until every packet that was board ready by the start of the board, has been reviewed.
Please view the below video for more information about submitting an ROTC scholarship application.
ROTC Scholarship Selection
Selection for ROTC scholarships are highly competitive and at EWU ROTC we recommend getting your application complete and seen in time for the second board. The majority of scholarships are issued from the second and third boards and getting the application complete by the second board will increase your chances of receiving a scholarship. Decisions on the scholarships awarded are usually released two to four weeks after each board. Periodically check the Selection Status tab on your GoArmy application to see if you were selected.
If you were not selected after the third board do not give up hope of receiving a scholarship. There is a secondary process for applicants to earn a scholarship. Any ROTC program can make an alternate offer to applicants that were not offered a national award. We get most of our new, incoming freshman on scholarships using this alternate process. Applying for the national scholarship is simply the first step. It is very simple and easy for us to make an alternate offer, but you first have to put together the ROTC application.
Please contact the EWU ROTC office for any additional details about how the scholarship selection process works.
Follow EWU ROTC
Keep up-to-date on all the latest news and notes from the EWU ROTC program and Cadet Command in general by subscribing to our website using the sign up widget in the right sidebar. You can also follow EWU ROTC at the below social media channels:
Remember if you have any questions about the ROTC National Scholarship process, please leave a comment, contact our office, or reach out to us through our social media sites. We are here to help and want you to be as successful as possible to receive an Army ROTC scholarship.
Go ROTC! Go Fighting Eags!
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!
Brigadier General Nikki L. Griffin Olive
U.S. Army Retired
EWU ROTC Class of 1990
Commanding General, 335th Signal Command (Theater), Operational Command Post (Forward), Kuwait
Brigadier General Nikki L. Griffin Olive is a native of Spokane, Washington and was commissioned a Signal Officer upon graduation from Eastern Washington University (EWU) as an ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate.
In her initial assignment to Vicenza, Italy, she served as a signal platoon leader and company executive officer in the 559th Field Artillery Group. She was subsequently assigned as a Mobile Subscriber Equipment Platoon Leader and the Communications-Electronics Officer/Assistant S3 Plans Officer in the 3-58th Aviation Battalion (Air Traffic Control). Following graduation from the Signal Officer’s Advance course, she was assigned as the Communications-Electronics Officer in the 1-5th Air Defense Artillery Battalion (Stinger Missile), and the Headquarters Battery Commander, 1-3rd Air Defense Artillery Battalion (Stinger Missile), 3rd Infantry Division, Ft. Stewart, Georgia. In 1998, she was assigned as a Plans and Operations Officer, 335th Theater Signal Command, at East Point, Georgia, and she continued to serve in critical billets to include Force Management and Battalion Command. After attending Resident War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, she was assigned as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 for 335th Signal Command (Theater). Brigadier General Griffin Olive most recently relinquished command of the 359th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade in September 2016 before assignment as the Deputy Commanding General, Sustainment for 335th Signal Command (Theater). In 2018 she was assigned as Commanding General (Troop Program Unit), 335th Signal Command (Theater), Operational Command Post (Forward), Kuwait. BG Griffin-Olive retired from the U.S. Army in November 2019.
Brigadier General Griffin Olive’s awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (with four oak leaf clusters), Army Commendation Medal (with three oak leaf clusters), Army Achievement Medal (with five oak leaf clusters), Armed Forces Reserve Medal (M Device), Army Reserve Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal (with one oak leaf cluster), Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Military Outstanding Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (second award), and the Parachute Badge.She holds a Bachelors Degree from Eastern Washington University, Masters Degree from American Military University and the United States Army War College. Her military education includes the Signal Officer Basic Course, Signal Officer Advanced Course, Brigade/Battalion Signal Officer Course, Airborne School, Combined Arms, and Services Staff School, Command and General Staff College, and the United States Army War College.
Brigadier General Griffin Olive is married to Colonel Jeffrey Olive, G-6, Georgia Army National Guard. They have two daughters – Darby Isabelle Olive and Kendall Grace Olive.