By Whitney Allen
While some of the cadets were enlisted prior to going through the ROTC program, the majority of the cadets are becoming a part of the Army for the very first time. Major General Richard Mustion, the Commanding General of the Human Resources Command at Fort Knox addressed the cadets before they took the oath of office. “Each of you have taken your own path to get to this point but you’re making this transition together,” Mustion said.
Mustion advised the cadets of three foundational attributes to being a successful commissioned officer: character, presence and intellect. Before the oath was taken, Mustion reminded the cadets of the magnitude of the position they are taking on.
“Very soon the future of our Army will be in your hands,” Mustion said. “Train to lead and keep our Army strong.”
Cadets filed onto the stage and took the oath of office, then left the stage, not as cadets, but as second lieutenants. Following the ceremony the newly commissioned officers were ecstatic, not only to be commissioned, but also to be reunited with their families.
Second Lt. John Harness, Jr. from the University of New Haven in Connecticut was pinned by fellow cadets in his regiment. “It’s amazing, almost unreal,” Harness described the moment.
In addition to being accompanied by their fellow cadets, several of the cadets were joined by their families. After taking the oath of office, cadets were pinned by their parents, spouses, friends, and leaders from their LDAC training.
Second Lt. Shantell Dixon from Kansas State University in Manhattan was pinned by her mother and daughter. Dixon said the feeling of finally being commissioned was a great one but being reunited with her daughter was even better. “That is the greatest feeling of all,” Dixon said. “She is what kept me going.”
The importance of family support is not something that goes unrecognized. General Mustion thanked the families at the conclusion of his speech. “Behind every soldier and cadet is a family,” Mustion said. “We couldn’t survive without the sacrifices and support of our family members.”