EWU Army ROTC Commissions Largest Officer Class in Over 20 Years

2020 Spring Commissioning Ceremony

On June 12, 2020 the Eastern Washington University (EWU) Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) “Fighting Eagles” battalion conducted its annual Spring commissioning ceremony. The ceremony is normally held in the historic Showalter Hall auditorium on the beautiful EWU campus.  However, due to COVID-19 restrictions the ceremony was held outside on the hill behind Cadet Hall and limited to a group of 10 or less.  Because of the pandemic restrictions, individual ceremonies were held every 30-minutes through out the day for each Cadet using six foot social distancing guidelines and masks when required. A complete video of the ceremony can be viewed on our EWU Army ROTC Youtube channel:

2020 was the 65th straight year that Eastern has produced officers for the U.S. Army.  The EWU ROTC program was established in 1952 and the first commissioning class was in 1955.  For academic year 2020, the Eastern ROTC program has commissioned a total of 20 officers into the U.S. Army, which is it’s largest commissioning class in over 20 years.  Opening remarks for the ceremony were provided by the EWU Army ROTC, Professor of Military Science, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Jonathan Stafford.

LTC Jonathan Stafford, the EWU Army ROTC Professor of Military Science gives his remarks.

Guest Speaker

Following the remarks from LTC Stafford, the guest speaker for the ceremony, retired Brigadier General Nikki Griffin Olive gave her remarks.  BG Griffin Olive is a Spokane native who graduated from Central Valley High School and is also a 1990 graduate from Eastern’s ROTC program.  She traveled from her home outside of Atlanta, Georgia to attend the ceremony.

BG Griffin Olive gives her guest speech at the 2020 Spring Commissioning Ceremony.

BG Griffin Olive retired in November 2020 after a 30 year Army career that culminated with her on deployment as the Commanding General (Troop Program Unit), 335th Signal Command (Theater), Operational Command Post (Forward), Kuwait.  In addition to being our guest speaker BG Griffin Olive was also inducted as the eighth member of the EWU Military Science Hall of Fame.  A plaque in honor of BG Griffin Olive’s career has been added to the Hall of Fame inside of Cadet Hall.

EWU Army ROTC thanks BG Griffin Olive for the inspiring words to our new lieutenants and her incredible service to our great nation.  EWU ROTC also thanks the EWU Veterans Resource Center for providing the veteran coins and honor cords for graduation that was given to each new lieutenant.  We also thank the EWU Alumni office for providing Eagle4Life pins to each of the new lieutenants.

2LT Jazmin Castrejon receives her veteran cord and Eagle4Life pin.

The Challenge of Becoming an Army Officer

The path to this day was not an easy one for the Class of 2020. All these Cadets conducted up to 4 years of military training in the ROTC program, had to meet rigorous academic requirements, build strong physical fitness, pass the 37-day long ROTC Advanced Camp at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, among of host of other challenging requirements before they could commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.  Besides the overcoming the typical rigors of the ROTC program, the class of 2020 also had to complete their last quarter college under pandemic conditions.  The pandemic restrictions caused all of their classes, leadership labs, and physical training activities to be moved on line.  The commissioning ceremony is the first in-person event they have been part of since winter quarter.

Academic year 2020 commissionees Ian House, Joseph Jordan, Jazmin Castrejon, Coy Odiorne, and Melinda Leen attending the 37-day, 2019 Advanced Camp at Ft. Knox, Kentucky.

The Class of 2020 besides excelling as Cadets, were also very active on campus  as well executing cannon crew duties during the home football games, participating in volunteer activities such as our annual blood drive, assisting with color guard, and being part of the Ranger Challenge team.  They are a truly remarkable group of young leaders.the Cadets each came forward to be administered the Army Oath of Office to officially commission them as a Second Lieutenant (2LT) into the U.S. Army.

The Army Oath of Office

I (state your name), have been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States in the grade of Second Lieutenant do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter.  So help me God.

Following the Officer Oath of Office family members then came up and put on the Second Lieutenant rank on to the new officers. After the pinning of the rank each newly minted officer received their first salute from the enlisted person of their choice. Part of the tradition of the first salute is that the enlisted servicemember receives a silver dollar from the officer.

Virtual Commissionings

The first five Cadets who were unable to return to campus commissioned virtually over Zoom.  Below are pictures of the Cadets commissioning over Zoom.

2LT Erling Anderson (left) receives his first salute from First Sergeant Jason Hennig (right), the former Senior Military Science Instructor for EWU Army ROTC. 2LT Anderson graduates with degrees in Design Technology and Construction Management and Manufacturing Technology.  He is also a Distinguished Military Graduate who will serve as an active duty officer in the Army Corps of Engineers.

2LT Ian House (right) is commissioned by his father, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Brent Alan House (left). 2LT House graduates with a degree in History and will serve as a active duty Field Artillery officer.

2LT Cheyenne Sweet (right) is given the oath of office by 2LT Haley Isaacson, a 2019 EWU Army ROTC graduate. 2LT Sweet graduates with a criminal justice degree and will serve as an active duty Field Artillery officer.

2LT Chad Triplett is given the oath of office over Zoom, by 2LT Kyle Isaacson, a 2019 EWU Army ROTC graduate. Cadet Triplett is a Distinguished Military Graduate who was also selected as the recipient of the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross and the Admiral George Lotzenhiser Saber Leadership Award. He graduates with a degree in criminal justice and will serve as an active duty Infantry officer.

Individual In-Person Commissionings

After the five virtual commissions, our final ten Cadets individually commissioned in-person at Cadet Hall.  Below are pictures of each Cadet taken during the ceremony.  A complete collection of the photos taken can be viewed and downloaded from our EWU Army ROTC Flickr page.

2LT Megan Anderson (left) receives the oath of office from 2LT Melinda Leen a 2019 EWU Army ROTC graduate.  2LT Anderson graduates with an interdisciplinary studies degree and will serve as an active duty Ordnance Corps officer.

2LT Jazmin Castrejon receives her first salute over Zoom from her sister U.S. Army Private Karina Castrejon who is currently stationed in South Korea.  2LT Castrejon graduated with two degrees in Communications and Spanish.  She will serve as an active duty officer in the Transportation Corps.  She will also serve as a Gold Bar recruiter this summer for EWU Army ROTC.

U.S. Army Private Karina Castrejon gives her sister 2LT Jazmin Castrejon her first salute from South Korea.

2LT Samuel Coutts receives his first salute from Edwin Coutts, his grandfather and retired U.S. Navy Second Class Petty Officer.  2LT Coutts graduates with a degree in Engineering and will serve as an active duty Engineering officer.

2LT Cesar Guzman is administered the oath of office by Major Nicholas Carbaugh, the EWU Army ROTC Assistant Professor of Military Science.  2LT Guzman graduates with a degree in Biology and will serve as a Signal officer in the Washington State National Guard. 

2LT Joseph Jordan takes the oath of office which is administered by Major Jose Alfaro over Zoom.  2LT Jordan graduates with a degree in Criminal Justice and will serve as an active duty officer in the Chemical Corps.

2LT Sarah Mullen receives her first salute from Master Sergeant (MSG) Michael Zehring, the EWU Army ROTC Senior Military Science Instructor.  2LT Mullen graduates with a nursing degree and will serve on active duty in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. 

2LT Coy Odiorne receives the oath of office from LTC Jonathan Stafford.  2LT Odiorne served as the 2019 Ranger Challenge team captain that were runner-ups at this year’s competition.  2LT Odiorne graduates with a history degree and will serve as an active duty Air Defense Artillery officer.

2LT Marcos Sanchez celebrates his commissioning with his wife Courtney Sanchez.  2LT Sanchez was selected for the Superior MS-IV Cadet Award.  He graduates with a degree in Engineering and will serve as an Engineering officer in the U.S. Army Reserves. 

EWU ROTC Professor of Military Science, LTC Jonathan Stafford commissions Jacob Villasenor as a Second Lieutenant into the U.S. Army.  2LT Villasenor graduates with a degree in Business Marketing and will serve as a Military Intelligence officer in the Idaho National Guard. 

Newly commissioned 2LT Robert Wheeler graduates with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and will serve as an active duty Armor officer.  

EWU Army ROTC Class of Spring 2020

2LT Erling Anderson / Major: Design Technology/Construction Management and Manufacturing Technology / Branch: Engineers / Distinguished Military Graduate

2LT Megan Anderson / Major: Interdisciplinary Studies / Branch: Ordnance

2LT Jazmin Castrejon / Major: Communications & Spanish / Branch: Transportation

2LT Samuel Coutts / Major: Engineering / Branch: Engineers

2LT Cesar Guzman / Major: Biology / Branch: Signal

2LT Ian House / Major: History / Branch: Field Artillery

2LT Joseph Jordan / Major: Criminal Justice / Branch: Chemical

2LT Sarah Mullen / Major: Nursing / Branch: Nurse Corps

2LT Coy Odiorne / Major: History / Branch: Air Defense Artillery

2LT Marcos Sanchez / Major: Mechanical Engineering / Branch: Engineers / Superior MS-IV Cadet Award Winner

2LT Cheyenne Sweet / Major: Criminal Justice / Branch: Field Artillery

2LT Chad Triplett / Major: Criminal Justice / Branch: Infantry / Distinguished Military Graduate / Admiral George Lotzenhiser Saber Leadership Award / Legion of Valor Bronze Cross

2LT Jacob Villasenor / Major: Business Marketing / Branch: Military Intelligence

2LT Robert Wheeler / Major: Mechanical Engineering / Branch: Armor

Once again congratulations to all of our new lieutenants and remember a complete gallery of pictures from the commissioning ceremony can be found on our EWU Army ROTC Flickr page.

Go ROTC!  Go Fighting Eags!

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