Winter Commencement 2012
, 2012 marked the start of a new era in the military careers for three Midshipmen from the University of Idaho’s NROTC Battalion, where they made the long awaited transition into officers of the United States Navy & Marine Corps. To 2nd
Lieutenant Danny Tudor, 2nd
Lieutenant Thomas Boots, and Ensign Adam Lang, the commissioning ceremony that took place that day was the culmination of four years of dedication, both in their schoolwork and in the NROTC training program. In their graduation ceremony the following week the cominssionees were also recognized for earning degrees in Career and Technology Education, History and Information Systems respectively.
The ceremony began with the National Anthem, and traditions throughout included the Oath of Office, Reading of the Commissioning Scroll and the Piping Ceremony.
“It is an honor and a privilege” said 2nd Lieutenant Boots when asked to reflect on the ceremony. He continued by saying how strange it felt “when someone first called me ‘sir’, I had to do a double take and look for someone behind me before I realized they were actually talking to me.”
Lieutenant Tudor’s Oath of Office was administered by 2nd
Lieutenant Warming. His first salute was delivered by Staff Sargent Garner, and the presentation of rank insignia was by his fiancée Angela Puga.
Lieutenant Boots’ Oath of Office was administered by Captain Koreis and his first salute delivered by Gunnery Sergeant Clough. His parents Mike and Lynn Boots, who had traveled down from their hometown of Anchorage, Alaska, presented the rank insignia.
Finally, Ensign Lang’s oath was administered by the executive officer of the NROTC Unit, Commander Alex Greig. His father, Calvin Lang, delivered his first salute and his mother Jan, sister Amanda, and girlfriend Kate presented Ensign Lang with his rank insignia.
Immediately following the ceremony was a reception, where
photographs were taken and cake was cut with swords by the new officers as per tradition.
The Fall 2012 Commissioning Ceremony was only the beginning of the officer’s careers. Ensign Lang has been assigned to Pilot training at Naval Aviation Schools Command, Pensacola, Florida while 2nd
Lieutenant Boots and 2nd
Lieutenant Tudor have both been assigned to The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia.
Navy and Marine Corps Birthday Ball
2012 marked the 237th birthday of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. It is tradition for Naval and Marine Corps units around the world to celebrate the birthday of their branch. The University of Idaho NROTC unit held a joint ball to celebrate both birthdays on Friday, October 19th.
The Birthday Ball is a way for the services to celebrate their military traditions and heritage. The annual celebration helps build esprit de corps and pays respect to those great men and women who came before. The night began with a cocktail and social hour where those in attendance were able to find their seats and mingle with other guests.
After the cocktail hour was the ceremony portion during which birthday messages from the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps were shown. The birthday cake was then cut and a piece was shared by the oldest and youngest Sailor in attendance. The same was done with the oldest and youngest Marine in attendance. This is a long standing ceremony which symbolizes the passing of traditions from the old generations to the new generations. After the ceremonies dinner was served.
After dinner the guest of honor spoke. This year’s guest of honor was Colonel Douglas R. Schueler, a Marine Aviator. This was fitting seeing as this also marked the 100th year of Marine Aviation. Colonel Schueler has a decorated career which includes over 4,000 logged military flight hours in more than 40 different models of fixed and rotary wing aircraft. In Colonel Schueler’s speech he recognized numerous Marine and Sailor Aviators who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and spoke on the importance maintaining battle readiness.
After the guest of honor’s speech the night ended in dancing, celebration, and remembrance of 237 years of service and tradition.
On an early Saturday morning, a contingent of NROTC midshipmen conducted a roadside cleanup in Troy, Idaho. The potential future Navy and Marine Corps officers walked by the side of the road for over two hours collecting all the garbage they could find in order to dispose of it properly. Instead of spending their Saturday morning catching up on sleep or relaxing during their free time, the midshipmen involved in the cleanup volunteered to spend their time cleaning and bettering the community. This event and the others like it that the NROTC unit participates in instill into the ethos of the midshipmen the attitudes of service and leadership by example that the Navy and Marine Corps desire every one of their officers to have. Midshipmen Ayers, one of those involved in the cleanup, commented that, “by giving up my Saturday morning to help out my community, I realized that sleeping is not always the priority. Sometimes you have to think about what you can do to take care of your neighborhood, and in turn your country. We learned in Naval Science (Taught by LT Hugie and LT Alvarado) that the Navy is all about bettering our world and defending our country, and it was excellent to see that in our own community.” The NROTC unit does the roadside cleanup every semester in addition to similar events such as cleaning Martin Stadium, the Kibbie Dome, and Memorial Gym.
Prisoners Of War/Missing In Action Day
On Friday, 21 September 2012, the University of Idaho/Washington State University Naval ROTC and the Army and Air Force ROTC units came together to honor the many service members who are prisoners of war or missing in action. Once in place, the units stood motionless in formation on the grassy administrative lawn wearing their service dress uniforms, saluting the colors as the national anthem was playing; a trumpet blasting the notes through the warm sunny air. As the song neared its end, a crackling noise rose, and as the last notes rang they were quickly overpowered by the roaring engines of two low-flying A-10s. Chills ran up everybody’s spines in that moment.
After a few words from the Duane Nellis, President of the University of Idaho, Mark Stephensen took his place behind the podium. Mark Stephensen is the president of the National League of POW/MIA Families. He began by describing his childhood memories of when he and his mother received news that his father was missing in action during the Vietnam conflict. He said he “was downstairs in the kitchen and watched a blue staff car with a white top pull up in front of our quarters”. When he saw them, he thought to himself that the news couldn’t be good. He would learn that his father had been shot down while attempting to avoid a surface-to-air missile near Hanoi. Sadly, Mark Stephensen wouldn’t find out until 1988 that his father was dead when his remains were repatriated by the Vietnamese Government; far too much time to pass for any person to have to wait. All of this led Mark on a mission, the purpose of which was to discover and report to all families impacted by the loss of a loved one. It is a mission he will never let up.
Mr. Stephensen concluded his speech by saying, “As warriors, it grieves you that these brothers have not come home.” But more importantly, he added, “Please remember that we will never break faith. To die in combat is not the worst thing that can happen. To be forgotten is the worst.” That is why we will never leave a man behind, and why we will never forget.