Commissioned at last
By Tanner Cole
Feature Photo by Mary Lane Barnes
The 1st and 2nd Regiments of the Leader Development and Assessment Course graduated today at Fort Knox, Kentucky. During the ceremony, 35 Cadets commissioned as 2nd Lt.’s, beginning their careers as Army officers.
Each Cadet took center stage one at a time, and their loved ones pinned shoulder boards with their new rank insignia to their uniforms. Brig. Gen. Kurt Hardin, the Commanding General of the 104th Training Division, presented their commissioning certificate, and they received their first salute from a respected soldier close to them.
2nd Lt. Christoper Ingram, of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana, accepted his certificate satisfied with the cap-stone to his college career that he was receiving.
“We’re becoming second lieutenants in the Army,” Ingram said. “It’s been a long four years of blood, sweat and tears. It’s nice to have it finally pay off.”
Visiting parents and loved ones took the stage with the Cadets to attach their new insignia. The shoulder boards provided a visual representation to the Cadets’ new rank increase. For Cara Wilke, the promotion meant she officially outranked her father, Warrant Officer Richard Wilke.
“I’m just as proud as a pea-pod, really,” he said.
Cara Wilke plans on continuing the family tradition in her career and with the Army. She attended West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.
“I’m going to start my career in transportation,” 2nd Lt.Wilke said. “We’re all transportation, my mom’s a truck driver and my dad drives a bus. It’s kind of a family thing. Plus my grandparents were both in the Army. It’s an honor to be with the family today.”
Erik Michels, of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, took his new rank with pride.
“You go from being a college kid and having almost no cares in the world to being in charge of a platoon of 60 people,” 2nd Lt. Michels said. “That’s huge. We’re entrusted with America’s greatest resources, and that’s people’s sons daughters.”