MBU Hosts ROTC Commissioning
A crowd gathered to watch two MBU ROTC cadets commissioned into the United States Army as 2nd Lieutenants.
ROTC Cadets Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants:
Thomas Graham, Army Nurse, Army Active Duty
Robert Kile, Armor Officer, PA Army National Guard
The ROTC Color Guard opened the commissioning by the posting of the colors, followed by the playing of the National Anthem.
Maj. Jon DeGreeff, US Army, opened the ceremony by welcoming guests to the commissioning ceremony at MBU in part of the Madison Badger Battalion. He then invited Dr. Marty Marriott to give the invocation.
Lt. Col. Scott Cheney, Professor of Military Sciences, thanked those in attendance. He gave special acknowledgment to Dr. and Mrs. Marriott, Dr. William Licht, Dr. Matthew Davis, LTC (Ret.) Dr. Tracy Foster, Dr. Jeffrey Drost, Kile’s parents Perry and Nancy Kile and fiance Bethany Mattis, Graham’s parents Tom and Cherie Graham and wife Amelia, Maranatha faculty, and Maranatha administration. In his opening remarks, Lt. Col. Cheney said of Kile and Graham, “These two gentlemen represent the best that not only this university has to offer, but the United States of America has to offer.” He expressed appreciation for the role the cadets’ families and mentors had played in their lives: “The values that you raised these two individuals with are exactly what’s going to make them successful…It’s the mothers and fathers, the faculty, and the people here [at MBU] that truly will set them up for success.”
Challenge from Dr. Tracy Foster: “Be a Good Soldier”
After Lt. Col. Cheney finished his opening remarks, Dr. Tracy Foster gave a challenge to the cadets from 2 Timothy 2:3 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Foster compared being a soldier in the United States military with being a soldier for Christ. He recalled that, after his own induction into the United States military, he had a new authority to whom he was accountable. Likewise, when he became a Christian he became accountable to Christ. He admonished the cadets to be good soldiers for Christ and to allow God to use the military to stretch them and help them grow spiritually.
The Oath of Office
After the challenge, Maj. DeGreeff called on Lt. Col. Cheney to conduct the Oath of Office.
Each cadet echoed the following oath:
I do solemnly swear
to 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 make this obligation freely,
without any mental reservations 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 oath, the family members came forward to pin on the rank of the newly-appointed officers.
History of the First Salute and Tradition of the Silver Dollar
When the newly commissioned lieutenants finished their speeches, Maj. DeGreeff gave the history of the first salute:
“The tradition of a newly appointed officer giving a silver dollar to the first enlisted person to salute them after they have received their commissions came from the British regiments stationed in Colonial America,” DeGreeff began. The custom grew, and Congress authorized on April 2, 1792, the giving of a silver dollar in exchange for the first salute.
“To every new officer, it [the silver dollar] has special significance,” he continued. “It represents the symbolic receipt of respect due a newly earned rank and position…It is an acknowledgment from one professional to another saying, ‘Welcome to our service and to the profession of arms.'”
First Salutes and Commissioning
The new second lieutenants then received their first salutes. Second Lt. Thomas Graham received his first salute from Sgt. Connor Ziegele. Second Lt. Robert Kile received his first salute from Sgt. George Gardner (USMC).
Following the first salutes, a proclamation of commission— signed by President Donald Trump and Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan—was read. In part, it read as follows:
“Know ye that, reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity, and abilities of Thomas Graham and Robert Kile, I do appoint them a second lieutenant in the Army to rank as such from the 3rd day of May, 2019. These officers will therefore carefully and diligently discharge the duties of the office to which appointed by doing and performing all manner of things thereunto belonging.”
Closing of the Ceremony
After the commission certificates were awarded, Graham and Kyle each thanked God, their families, friends, classmates, instructors, and fellow cadets for their help and support.
Maj. DeGreeff gave closing remarks to the new second lieutenants, challenging them to “Go” “Serve” and “Lead” in their future military careers.
After his remarks, Maj. DeGreeff concluded the ceremony by asking Dr. Jeff Drost to offer the benediction.