Taking the oath

HOUGHTON – Prior to commencement Saturday morning, graduating Michigan Technological University Air Force and Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets took the oath of office to accept their appointments as second lieutenants during a commissioning ceremony.

Each of the seven Army ROTC cadets was introduced by Lt. Col. Adam Melnitsky, Battalion Commander and professor of military science at Michigan Tech. Melnitsky shared each cadet’s unique contributions to the Michigan Tech Army ROTC and his confidence in their future success and positive contributions to their Army units. Lt. Col. Michael Brothers also introduced each of the 13 graduating Air Force ROTC cadets, making sure to share an embarrassing story when possible. The cadets then took their oath of office, promising to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and to “bear true faith and allegiance” to the United States.

“This past year has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in the army due to the people standing before you today,” Melnitsky said. “They have consistently demonstrated that they possess the leadership attributes of an effective leader and army officer through their character, which includes a strong sense of duty and desire to lead by example.”

Melnitsky outlined some of the many events and activities the Army ROTC was involved in over the past year, including facilitating move-in, participating in Winter Carnival and winning the snow statue competition, the military ball and several training exercises spanning multiple days.

“The majority of the events that occurred were both planned and executed by the cadets,” he said.

Brothers outlined several of the Air Force ROTC’s activities and achievements from the past year, including being named Team of the Year.

“I’ve instructed and mentored thousands of students at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and these students are on par with the best of them. They are truly a remarkable group of Air Force leaders and one of the main reasons our detachment has received all the national recognition,” he said. “…It is these cadets, plus others that will be sitting in these seats in the near future, that led our program to national recognition which will benefit this school for years to come.”

After the oath of office, each cadet exchanged his or her first salute with a service member then handed over a silver dollar – a tradition dubbed the “Silver Dollar Salute” dating back to before the U.S. Armed Forces were organized.

While each cadet’s many accomplishments and attributions to the ROTC were honored, three cadets received special recognition. Madeline Peabody was presented with the Battalion Commander Saber in recognition of her exceptional leadership skills.

“Cadet Peabody is a great leader at Michigan Tech. She’s the epitome of what I have attempted to instill in the cadets this past year. The Army has a lot of terms to describe what is expected of its students and Cadet Peabody has internalized the meaning of selfless service,” Melnitsky said.

Mary Beth Spoehr received The George C. Marshall Distinguished Graduate Award for overall excellence.

“She embodies everything the army demands of its finest leaders and cadets. She’s always striving to learn more in order to prepare herself…she will be a great addition to any unit that is fortunate enough to benefit from her talents,” Melnitsky said.

Finally, Troy Q. Drabek was presented with the University President’s Award.

“He is truly a well-rounded individual who has excelled academically, athletically and in the various roles he has held,” said Brothers. “He epitomizes everything the Air Force seeks among our new officers.”