New Mexico Military Institute cadets take their commissioning oaths during the Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony held Friday morning at the campus chapel. (Mark Wilson Photo)
Two years of hard work, a sense of duty and commitment culminated with a single salute for 22 New Mexico Military Institute cadets, Friday. The group of young men and women received their first salutes as second lieutenants during the Instituteâ€™s Army ROTC Commission Ceremony.
â€œAfter all that work, it was relieving,â€ said 2nd Lt. John Warren, referring to the moment of being commissioned. â€œWeâ€™re really proud of each other,â€ he said, adding that the years leading up to the moment were met with hard work and dedication.
â€œ(Itâ€™s been) a lot of MREâ€™s and sleepless nights.â€ Warren was joined by his fellow former cadets, who were applauded by proud families, and present and retired members of the armed forces â€” all of whom lauded them on their accomplishment and wished them success in their future.
â€œWelcome to the ranks of our nationâ€™s finest,â€ said Maj. Gen. Charles A. Anderson, the commanding general of the First Army Division West and the ceremonyâ€™s guest speaker.
â€œFrom this day forward your most important and sacred responsibility entrusted to you is the privilege to lead American soldiers,â€ he said.
â€œYou have lived your institutionâ€™s vision.â€ Prior to receiving their first salute, the former cadets took their commissioning oaths and the Instituteâ€™s leaders who had ushered them to that point passed down a final lesson.
â€œWhen you raise your right hand, your life will change forever,â€ said Lt. Col. Franz J. Conway, NMMIâ€™s professor of military science.
â€œThis moment is that special.â€ Receiving gold bars were: Jon Burson, Andrew Carter, Meagan Chopito, Paul J. Cortez, Christopher Dominey McKinney, Porsche Fluitt Pearland, Joel Fulsang Blandinsville, Harvey Johnson, Marc Kruithoff, Hayden Lienau, Joseph Mao, Gabrielle Miller, Ryan Murrell, Marilyn Nurse, Christian Park, Mabel Lynne Priddy, Keith Ray, Robert Schneden, Nicole Tamapua, Jedidiah Teofilo, Jayde Unasa and John Warren.
Upon completion of additional coursework, Cadet Megan Webb will be commissioned. In December, 2nd Lts. Daniel A. Dubuisson and Aaron J. Streitenberger were commissioned.