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Ready to lead: Appalachian students commissioned as military officers

BOONE—Thirteen cadets were commissioned as second lieutenants at a ceremony held May 13 on campus. The students are members of Appalachian State University’s Mountaineer Battalion, the Department of Military Science and Leadership’s ROTC program.

View larger imageGraduation events at Appalachian State University included the commissioning of 13 ROTC cadets as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

Lt. Col. Michael Zopfi, chair of the Department of Military Science and Leadership in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, began the ceremony by lauding the cadets for their commitment to service. “You will be responsible for the most valuable resource our nation has – our sons and daughters,” he said. “I challenge you to uphold the oath of office, lead by example, put your mission and soldiers first and to always do the right thing.”

Col. Kirk Dorr, fellow at the Harvard University Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, then praised the students for the skills they have learned as part of the ROTC program. He also commended Lt. Col. Zopfi and the department faculty for their role in developing leaders for the challenges in the army.

“We are in a place of great ambiguity in the world, and it’s a dangerous place to be,” he said. “We need young, talented leaders to infuse the formation if we’re going to achieve the levels of excellence we need.”

He also reminded the students and their families that they now have what it takes to realize their goals. “You can’t coach heart and soul,” he said to the students. “If you have the drive, you’ll succeed and do great things.”

The commissioned students represent a variety of colleges on campus and include Morgan Bicio, a history major who will serve as adjutant general; Rebecca Inman, a global studies major who will serve in military intelligence; Matthew James, an exercise science major who will serve as quartermaster; Marshall Montgomery, an accounting major who will serve in military intelligence; Brendan Elliot, an industrial design major who will serve in aviation; Jacob Fregia, a criminal justice major who will serve in the infantry; Michael Waters, a computer information systems major who will serve as quartermaster; Andrew Lightsey, a graduate student in geography who will serve in aviation; Benjamin Tan, an exercise science major who will serve in the medical corps; Russell Moss, a religious studies major who will serve in the chaplains corps; Thomas Mackie, a history major who will serve in field artillery; Austin Welch, a recreation management major who will serve in military ordnance; and Ryan Clark, a geography / GIS major who will serve in military intelligence.

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