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Colin Powell commissions ROTC cadets

Monday, May 7th, 2012

As another school year draws to a close, graduating ROTC cadets across the nation are being commissioned as officers in the U.S. military. This past Thursday, Gen. (Ret.) Colin Powell administered the commissioning oath to 13 Northeastern University cadets who were made 2nd lieutenants in the Army:

“Serving is impor­tant. Remember why you’re get­ting this com­mis­sion in a few moments: ser­vice to this nation, ser­vice to the greatest ideals of this nation and, above all, ser­vice to the troops who will be entrusted to your care,” Powell said at the Liberty Battalion Army ROTC commission  cer­e­mony, held in Raytheon Amphitheater and attended by more than 150 people.

Powell told the cadets that the skills and dis­ci­pline each of them would acquire in basic Army training will “make you a con­tributing leader in this country for the rest of your lives.” He recalled being inspired to join the ROTC while at City Col­lege of New York after seeing cadets march down a street in Harlem, and that the 35 years, 3 months and 21 days he would later serve in the U.S. Army–ultimately rising to the rank of four-​​star general–all served as learning expe­ri­ences that “made me who I am.”

Powell then administered the commissioning oath to the cadets and thanked North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun for his sup­port of Lib­erty Battalion. […] After the students took the oath, family mem­bers pinned gold bars on the shoulders of the new 2nd lieutenants. […]

Lt. Col. Gary M. Soldato, who com­mands Lib­erty Bat­talion and is a pro­fessor of mil­i­tary sci­ence, lauded the newly minted offi­cers’ hard work and ded­i­ca­tion. “Not every­body can do what you are about to embark upon,” he said. “That’s why you must earn those gold bars, like you have today.”

Soldato also pre­sented Powell with a gift–a Lib­erty Bat­talion ROTC coin.

North­eastern Uni­ver­sity began its rela­tion­ship with the U.S. Army in 1918, with the start of the Stu­dent Army Training Corps in response to World War I. In Jan­uary 1951, the university officially formed an ROTC detach­ment in sup­port of the Army Corps of Engi­neers and Signal Corps, and the first com­mis­sioned class grad­u­ated in 1955.

North­eastern Army ROTC has com­mis­sioned more than 3,800 cadets in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. At one point, it was one of the largest non­mil­i­tary campus pro­grams in the nation, with about 2,800 cadets enrolled.

Congratulations to all the newly-commissioned officers! For more on ROTC, check out Cheryl Miller’s report, “Underserved: A Case Study of ROTC in New York City.”