Seven ROTC Cadets Commissioned at University Campus
May 06, 2011
Seven U.S. Army ROTC cadets who are graduating with bachelor’s degrees from Saint Leo University were commissioned as Army Second Lieutenants at a ceremony at University Campus Thursday.
The ROTC program trains college students, referred to as cadets, to become officers in the armed services. The U.S. Army ROTC program that operates at Saint Leo and other area institutions is part of the broader Suncoast Battalion. To be successful cadets, undergraduates must satisfy the basic academic requirements of their four-year degree programs, complete military science courses, stay abreast of physical training requirements, and enroll in summer training exercises. The commissioning ceremony celebrates these accomplishments and the beginning of an Army career.
Along with the cadets, family members, friends, younger ROTC cadets, and many Saint Leo faculty members filled Selby Auditorium for the official commissioning. The ceremony was a milestone for Saint Leo as well, as it was the first time Saint Leo has had its own commissioning ceremony. In previous years, the graduating cadet population from Saint Leo was smaller, so those cadets took part in a larger ceremony at the University of South Florida at Tampa, the base for the Suncoast Battalion. Six of the seven cadets commissioned Thursday studied at Saint Leo’s University Campus, and one enrolled at the university’s continuing education center at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
The cadets and their guests heard from retired U.S. Major General John Marcello, who spent 32 years in the Army. He advised them to continue to educate themselves, to further develop their writing skills, to learn a foreign language, and to avoid cynicism. “It’s your turn to lead,” he concluded, “now go out and do great things.” Also playing key roles were Major Stephen Wills, the outgoing ROTC adviser; his direct superior, Lieutenant Colonel Padraig Clark; and incoming ROTC adviser Captain Bryan Dunker.
After each cadet took the required oath, he or she was able to have one or more family members affix their new shoulder boards––signifying their new rank––to their uniforms.
The new officers are:
- Second Lieutenant Kuen Fung, who graduates with a degree in business management and who holds the honor of being named a Distinguished Military Graduate, meaning he ranked within the top 20 percent of cadets nationally. He studied at the Saint Leo University MacDill Center, and will be assigned to Fort Benning, GA.
- Second Lieutenant David Marcello, also a Distinguished Military Graduate, who majored in international studies, and who will be stationed at Fort Bragg, NC.
- Second Lieutenant Robert Tester, the third Distinguished Military Graduate, majored in history and completed a minor in international relations, and will be stationed in Fort Richardson, AK.
- Second Lieutenant Carlos Albaladejo, who graduates with a degree in psychology, and who will be stationed in Germany.
- Second Lieutenant Antoine Broadnax, who majored in health care management and will assume reserve duty.
- Second Lieutenant Van Hauter, who earned a degree in psychology, and who will be stationed at Fort Story, VA.
- Second Lieutenant Vanessa Macekura, who earned a degree in criminal justice, and who will be stationed at Fort Stewart, GA.
The cadets will also take part in a shorter, ceremonial event during the April 30 undergraduate commencement so that all their fellow Saint Leo 2011 classmates can cheer them on.
Pictured: The new Army Second Lieutenants from the Saint Leo ROTC program during their commissioning ceremony and at a reception later. Also, U.S. Army Major Stephen Wills, left, is pictured with Second Lieutenant Carlos Albaladejo, right.