Fort Knox, Ky. – Twenty-four newly commissioned 2nd lieutenants of Cadet Leaders Course (CLC), 2nd Regiment, stood proudly as family, friends and observer trainer mentors watched them become leaders in the Army.
“I’m pretty happy, I’ve been working towards this goal for the last three years. It hasn’t been the easiest thing I’ve done, but it’s definitely been the most rewarding,” said 2nd Lt. Paolo Pahm, Michigan State University graduate. “I feel happy that my family and my girlfriend are here. It’s been a long four weeks, but I definitely feel accomplished.”
Col. Mark Raschke, Professor of Military Science at the Citadel, was guest speaker and presiding officer of the ceremony.
After reciting the oath of office, unveiling gold bars, first salutes and presentations of commissioning certificates, the ceremony ended with the officers being sent forth with this charge.
“Don’t be afraid to be the big toe. Don’t be afraid to jump out and take charge. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone; rather, try to do that everyday,” Raschke stated in honor of the 35th anniversary of the military comedy, Stripes.
On-looking parents Michele and Rodney Hairfield described watching the ceremony with “pride in their son.”
“Words can’t truly describe it because you know he’s gone through a lot of expert training which will make him a better leader,” Rodney stated, “It’s really impressive to see this base and have chills go through your body when you see your child’s commissioning as a 2nd lieutenant. It’s very impressive.”
“I couldn’t quit smiling,” Michele added.
Cadet Summer Training brought together 614 2nd Regiment Cadets to develop into Army officers. Pahm, though happy about his experience, finds leaving behind his platoon from CLC difficult.
“Honestly, one of the most difficult things is leaving my platoon because even though it has only been four weeks, we’ve developed a really close relationship. We developed together as leaders. I know I will never forget those individuals so knowing I’m not graduating with them, even though I commissioned, is definitely the hardest thing.”
2nd Lt. Alexander Bokser, Binghamton University graduate, though nervous, believes he is ready to lead.
“I’m looking forward to that first moment I get a platoon. I’ll walk up, it’ll be really nerve wracking, but it’ll feel awesome because I’ve worked really hard to get there. It’s a great responsibility and a privilege.”