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Ready to serve, three Appalachian graduates are commissioned as officers in the U.S. Army

pinning_t.jpgBOONE—War is not a time for slow learners, Lt. Col. Michael W. Minor told Appalachian State University’s ROTC cadets prior to their commissioning as second lieutenants.

ROTC_Dec.jpg Three Appalachian State University graduates have been commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. They are Christopher M. Dimaio, left, Gregory T. Lewis and Mitchell S. Rick. After completing the basic officer leadership course, Dimaio will join the medical service corps, Lewis will join the military police with the N.C. Army National Guard and Rick will join the transportation corps with the N.C. Army National Guard. (Photo by Jane Nicholson)pinning_t.jpg Keefer Rick, right, pins a second lieutenant bar on his father, Mitchell, during commissioning ceremonies at Appalachian State University. (Photo by Jane Nicholson)

Minor, a 1986 graduate of Appalachian, said he was on the verge of flunking out of college when he was given a second chance to complete his college degree.

“Suddenly they had my full attention when those hard facts of life were explained to me,” Minor said of the officers leading the ROTC program when he was in school. “I was about to lose something that was very special to me – my association with my fellow cadets, the opportunity to live in the Boone community and go to college.”

Minor earned a degree in history from Appalachian and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University. He is the deputy commanding officer of the 1st Brigade Combat, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. He has served four deployments in Iraq and one to Afghanistan.

“This is where the war on global terrorism starts. Right here training our Army’s future leaders,” he said. “Don’t be a slow learner like I was. During war, there is no time. Come out of the gate charging, recognize the challenges, anticipate the requirements and accomplish each mission above and beyond the standards. You are ready. You come from a great university and a great ROTC program that is well known throughout our Army.”

Officers commissioned during a ceremony Dec. 20 at Appalachian were Christopher M. Dimaio, Gregory T. Lewis and Mitchell S. Rick.

Dimaio, a construction management major, will join the medical service corps. Lewis, a criminal justice major, will join the military police with the N.C. Army National Guard. Rick, a middle grades education major, will join the transportation corps with the N.C. Army National Guard.

“This is both a challenging and an exciting time,” Minor said. “I can just about guarantee you that in the next 24 months you will deploy to combat. It makes no difference whether you are active duty reserve or National Guard. In today’s Army, everyone fights.

“I want to thank you and congratulate you on your choice to serve our army and our soldiers, especially during this time of war. Not many are willing to step forward and volunteer to do so. I think this is truly what separates you from all others,” he said.