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Appalachian’s ROTC program graduates 10 second lieutenants

BOONE—Ten students from the ROTC program at Appalachian State University ended their time as students at the university and took the first steps in becoming Army officers Aug. 8.

View larger imageCol. Bruce E. Leahy addressed newly commissioned second lieutenants and Appalachian State University graduates Aug. 8 during a ceremony on campus. (Photo by Jane Nicholson)View larger imageTen graduates of Appalachian State University’s ROTC program began their military careers as newly commissioned officers Aug. 8. They will serve in Army branches ranging from artillery to military police. They are Joseph S. Lingo, left, Dana A. Shears, Brandon H. Reynolds, Trevor M. Howard, Eric. T. Manderbach, Christian J. Quinn, Andrew S. Nicolaysen, Seth. T. Chesson, Cody A. Spiker and Alexander J. Conoley (Photo by Jane Nicholson)

They were commissioned as second lieutenants and took the oath of commissioned officers in the Army, swearing to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

The important milestone was witnessed by friends and family, classmates and faculty and administrators from Appalachian.

Col. Bruce E. Leahy, commander of the 4th Military Information Support Group at Fort Bragg, spoke at the commissioning held on campus in Broyhill Music Center’s Recital Hall.

“You are about to join the profession of arms. It is not a club or a fraternity,” Leahy said. “It is a brother and sisterhood of individuals who have volunteered to serve a greater cause who are willing to follow your leadership. It is now you who will be the leaders of America’s greatest assets.”

Leahy, who has served in Kosovo, Iraq, Qatar, and at Fort Carson, Schofield Barracks, MacDill Air Force Base, as well as Fort Bragg, said the new officers’ careers would be different than his 32-year career, given the Army’s planned reduction in force in the coming years.

He said it was not the locations where he has served, the jobs he has been assigned or the personal recognition he has received that have been the most important aspects of his career. “It has been the opportunity to serve with the outstanding soldiers in the Army that you will now have the responsibility to teach, train, lead and mentor,” he said.

Lt. Col. David Cox, head of the Department of Military Science and Leadership and the ROTC program at Appalachian also had final words for the officers.

“Being an Army officer is an awesome responsibility,” he said. “Over the last several years I have gotten to know these young men very, very well. In my opinion, they are up to the challenge. I challenge all of you to put the mission first, put the needs of your soldiers before your own, and do the right thing all the time. If you do that, you can’t go wrong.”

The newly commissioned second lieutenants are:

  • Seth. T. Chesson, a history and secondary education major who will join the Armor Branch
  • Alexander J. Conoley, a business management major who will join the N.C. National Guard’s Transportation Corps
  • Trevor M. Howard, an international criminal justice major who will join the National Guard’s Infantry Branch
  • Joseph S. Lingo, a physics major and member of the N.C. Army National Guard for more than three years who will join Air Defense Artillery Branch
  • Eric. T. Manderbach, an international criminal justice major and N.C. National Guard member for more than three years who will join the Ordnance Corps
  • Andrew S. Nicolaysen, a criminal justice major and member of the N.C. National Guard for more than three years who will join the Armor Branch
  • Christian J. Quinn, a criminal justice major who will join the Infantry Branch
  • Brandon H. Reynolds, an international criminal justice major and N.C. National Guard member for more than four years who will join the Armor Branch
  • Dana A. Shears, a criminal justice major who will join the National Guard’s Military Police Corps
  • Cody A. Spiker, a political science major and N.C. National Guard member for more than four years who will join the Aviation Branch

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