U.S. Army Col. John C. Kinton helped celebrate 11 of the Army’s newest officers recently during the annual Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raider Battalion Spring Commissioning Ceremony.
Kinton, commander of the 194th Engineer Brigade with the Tennessee Army National Guard, spoke to the new second lieutenants and an audience of family, friends and supporters filling the Keathley University Center Theater Friday, May 5.
Commissioning ceremonies are a formal event celebrating cadets moving forward in their military journeys. They include the swearing-in by a military leader, pinning by family member and first salute from family or friends. They graduated in May 5-6 ceremonies held in Murphy Center.
“There are numerous difficult challenges, unforgettable experiences and incredible accomplishments ahead (for you),” Kinton said. “… You will impact thousands of lives throughout your careers: The soldiers you lead, your peers seeing your examples and the people you serve and save at home and abroad.”
Later, Kinton challenged them to “show your soldiers you care through a clear work/life balance guidance that reflects your empathy for them, their families and their struggles and to be prepared to provide leadership if your unit is struggling, especially if you are a reserve component.”
The honorees, who recently received red stoles during the Graduating Veterans Stole Ceremony to wear at commencement, graduated Friday and Saturday, May 5-6, in Murphy Center.
Those commissioned include:
• Christopher Boykin of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, who earned a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness and will be active duty in the Engineer Branch.
• Alex Coones of Richmond Hill, Georgia, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and will be active duty in the Armor Branch.
• Wilnie Fanfan of Murfreesboro, who earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing and will be active duty in the Nursing Branch.
• Jacob Malugin of Columbia, Tennessee, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and will be reserve forces duty in the Military Police Branch.
• Aime Ngarambe of La Vergne, Tennessee, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and will be reserve forces duty in the Transportation Branch, U.S. Army National Guard.
• Seth Pilgrim of Owens Cross Roads, Alabama, who earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace and will be active duty in the Aviation Branch.
• Tyson Ramsey of Murfreesboro, who earned a bachelor’s degree in community and public health and will be reserve forces duty in the U.S. Army Reserve Chemical Branch.
• Christina Sayaboun of Murfreesboro, who earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and will be active duty in the Medical Services Branch.
• Jacob Showah of Murfreesboro, who earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and will be active duty in the Engineer Branch.
• Jordan Wilcox of Winchester, Tennessee, who earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace and will be reserve forces duty in the Army National Guard’s Aviation Branch.
• Aaron Wilson of Waynesboro, Tennessee, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and will be active duty in the Aviation Branch.
For Sayaboun, 22, a 2019 Riverdale High School graduate, the “ROTC experience was pretty eventful. I was very involved on campus. There was always something to do. It was a great and fun experience and I won’t forget it. I want to say thank you to the cadre (military science faculty) and to the exercise science department and professors for helping me get to where I am now.”
U.S. Army Lt. Col Arlin Wilsher, the military science chair, said it is “a great occasion — a moment where we see them transition from students and cadets to U.S. Army officers.”
MaryJane Kinton, of Fairview, Tennessee, attended the ceremony with her father. She will be an MTSU sophomore studying language and art and design this fall after transferring from the University of Tennessee-Southern in Pulaski, Tennessee.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)
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