Service to Their Country
Forty-one students will be graduating from the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs and starting active military service as officers with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. Commissioning signifies the beginning of a student’s active military service. Each student will take an oath of office in his or her respective branch of service in one of three commissioning ceremonies taking place on May 24 on the Rensselaer campus in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) Theater and the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) auditorium.
In the Army, the Mohawk Battalion operates as the Army’s only commissioning source for colleges and universities throughout the Capital Region. This year, eight of the 16 graduates that will be commissioned as second lieutenants are from Rensselaer. Of the 16 commissionees, eight will go into active duty, five will go into the National Guard, and three will go into the Reserve. Assignment locations for the new lieutenants include Ft. Benning, Ga.; Ft. Sill, Okla.; Ft. Huachuca, Ariz.; Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo.; and Ft. Rucker, Ala. The commissioning ceremony for the Rensselaer students will take place on May 24 from 10 to 11 a.m. in the CBIS auditorium. Maj. Gen. Patrick A. Murphy, adjutant general for the state of New York, will deliver the keynote address. Murphy also serves as the commander of the New York Army National Guard and the Commissioner of the Division of Military and Naval Affairs for the state of New York. He is responsible for providing trained and ready forces for both state and federal missions.
From Naval ROTC, 12 students will be commissioned as ensigns and two as second lieutenants into active duty in the United States Navy or Marine Corps. Future career paths for those commissioned include three surface warfare officers, five submarine officers, three aviation officers, one special warfare officer, and two Marine Corps officers. The commissioning ceremony will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. in the EMPAC Theater May 24. Rear Adm. James Murdoch ’80 will deliver the keynote address. In 2011, Murdoch was selected to lead the newly established Program Executive Office, Littoral Combat Ships. In his most recent assignment, he served as the director of fleet maintenance for U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Murdoch is a 1980 Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps graduate from Rensselaer with a degree in mechanical engineering. He also graduated with distinction from the Naval War College.
In the Air Force, 13 graduates will become space operations officers, developmental engineers, scientists, an intelligence officer, an air liaison officer, a cyberspace operations officer, and a remotely piloted aircraft officer. The commissioning ceremony will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on May 24 in the EMPAC Theater. Col. (Ret.) Christopher O’Hara will deliver the keynote address. O’Hara retired from the Air Force in August, 2010. During his last assignment, he served as the commander of AFROTC Detachment 550 at Rensselaer, in addition to serving as deputy commander of the 732nd Air Expeditionary Group, Joint Base Balad, Iraq.