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Army ROTC commissioning extends cadets’ busy semes...

Army ROTC commissioning extends cadets’ busy semester through graduation

Graduating senior Army ROTC cadets at MTSU concluded one busy semester with new commissions Friday, May 5, as they prepare for military careers while juggling academic pursuits.

Sixteen cadets participated in a formal ceremony that included guest speaker Robert Harris, a retired U.S. Army major general.

Taygen Pickel, 7, right, pins one of the lieutenant bars on her father, 2nd Lt. Blake Pickel, as daughter Addalyn, 2, and wife Terra Pickel watch May 5 during the MTSU Army ROTC spring commissioning ceremony in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building. The Pickels live in Manchester, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Taygen Pickel, 7, right, pins one of the lieutenant bars on her father, 2nd Lt. Blake Pickel, as Pickel’s younger daughter, Addalyn, 2, and wife, Terra Pickel watch during the May 5 MTSU Army ROTC spring commissioning ceremony in the Tom H. Jackson Building. The Pickels live in Manchester, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

The Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program helps cadets with leadership and managerial skills and confidence.

Second lieutenant commissionees include:

  • English major Devon Boyce of Murfreesboro.
  • William Brantley, an international relations major from  Jackson, Tennessee.
  • biochemistry major Sara Crum of Woodville, Alabama.
  • criminal justice administration major Brandon Harbaugh of Lebanon, Tennessee.
  • Tyler Holweg, a dual economics and criminal justice administration major from Morristown, Tennessee.
  • organizational communication major Andre Layden of Atoka, Tennessee.
  • aerospace major Timothy Maginn of Bartlett, Tennessee.
  • Richard Olivarez, a leisure sport and tourism studies major from Lebanon.
  • aerospace administration major James Phillips of Byrdstown, Tennessee.
  • Blake Pickel, an integrated studies major from Manchester, Tennessee.
  • criminal justice administration major Sherrod Redmond of Memphis, Tennessee.
  • global studies major Brian Roy of Christiana, Tennessee.
  • Kara Spray, a psychology major from Shelbyville, Tennessee.
  • Brennen Smyth, a plant and soil science major from Ooltewah, Tennessee.
  • electronic media communication major Joel Whitehead of Tullahoma, Tennessee.
  • Shanika Willis, who’s receiving a master’s degree in chemistry, from Antioch, Tennessee.

Each of the students are set to receive their MTSU degrees during this weekend’s spring 2017 commencement ceremonies.

During this exceptionally busy spring semester, Army ROTC cadets conducted a staff ride at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania; helped with the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students’ annual “Clothesline Project” at MTSU, an event to raise awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence; and gained field training and weapons qualification experience at the Tennessee Army National Guard’s Volunteer Training Site Command in Smyrna, Tennessee.

The group also held “Spartan races” across a two-mile route across campus in a “ROTC Warrior Challenge” with faculty in the Department of Military Science and served as “shadow hosts” for high school students visiting campus.

Sara Crum, center left, sings the “Army Song” with 15 other MTSU Army ROTC cadets commissioned as second lieutenants May 5 in a formal ceremony in the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Sara Crum, center left, sings the “Army Song” with 15 other MTSU Army ROTC cadets commissioned as second lieutenants May 5 in a formal ceremony in the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

This summer, all MTSU’s junior cadets will attend a monthlong Advance Camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

The weapons qualification range training in Smyrna this spring helped juniors prepare for the Advance Camp, which evaluates them on what they’ve learned in ROTC.

Cadets were required to zero their rifles and successfully qualify — hitting a minimum of 23 out of 40 targets from varying ranges — with the M16s. Every cadet qualified.

For the Gettysburg trip, seniors were split into groups and assigned research topics on different segments of the battle. A park ranger helped foster discussion and the cadets had to brief their assignments with the entire class.

“The staff ride helped expand their knowledge of military history as well as provided lessons on leadership,” said cadet Matthew West, a senior computer information systems major from Thompson’s Station, Tennessee.

The Warrior Challenge included 500 pushups, situps and flutter kicks as a group, lunges and bear crawls up the parking garage, water jug and litter carry and 7-minute group plank.

Cadets Against Sexual Harassment, or CASH, is an ROTC student organization that provides classes on sexual assault and harassment prevention and bystander awareness.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jackie McDowell directs the military science program.

For more on ROTC and the program, call 615-898-2470 or visit www.mtsu.edu/arotc1.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Army Lt. Col. Jackie McDowell, right, administers the oath to 16 MTSU senior cadets commissioned into the Army during a formal ceremony May 5 in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Army Lt. Col. Jackie McDowell, right, administers the oath to 16 MTSU senior cadets commissioned into the Army during a formal ceremony May 5 in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU senior Army ROTC cadets make strides in completing the obstacle course during the Warrior Challenge in April. (MTSU photo by Matthew West)

MTSU senior Army ROTC cadets make strides in completing the obstacle course during the Warrior Challenge in April. (Photo courtesy of Matthew West)


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