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ROTC Fall 2016 Commissioning

UW-Stout’s department of military science will hold its fall commissioning ceremony for Army ROTC cadets in the Northwoods Battalion at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, in Riverview Ballroom B of the UW-River Falls’ University Center.

UW-Stout, UW-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls comprise the Northwoods Battalion in northern Wisconsin. ROTC stands for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

The five cadets to be commissioned, their hometowns and majors are:

  • Willard Elliott, of Spring Valley, UW-Stout game design and development
  • Douglas Heinkel, of Pardeeville, UW-Stout game design and development
  • Austin Merritt, of Anoka, Minn., UW-Eau Claire criminal justice
  • Emily Malecha, of Ashland, UW-River Falls business administration
  • Tucker Malecha, of Hudson, UW-River Falls exercise and sport science

The students also will graduate on Saturday with academic degrees from their respective universities.

Col. Garry Cunningham, who is attending the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Penn., will be the guest speaker.

Commissioning recognizes a cadet’s transition from student to leader and is the last step taken before beginning careers as U.S. Army Officers. Ceremonies include a commitment to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. A cadet is granted authority to carry out the duties as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. The authority to grant a commission rests with Congress.

“These newly commissioned officers are responsible for leading and training enlisted soldiers, planning missions and organizing the internal and external affairs of the Army,” said Maj. Jesse Johnson, UW-Stout professor of military science. “They also will be entrusted with the welfare, morale and professional development of the soldiers under their command. As such, the Army commissions only the most qualified, talented men and women.”

During the ceremony, each cadet takes the Oath of Office, similar to the president of the United States at inauguration. The cadet chooses an officer or retired officer to administer the oath. Family members, or others close to the individual being commissioned, pin the cadet with gold bars. The ceremony culminates with the newly commissioned officer being saluted by a noncommissioned officer of his or her choice.

Students in ROTC enroll in leadership courses as electives and pursue a degree of their choice.

“Newly commissioned second lieutenants have responsibilities that far exceed those of most new college graduates,” Johnson said. “They routinely shoulder responsibility for training, inspiring and leading more than 30 soldiers – but also are expected to be America’s diplomat in demanding overseas environments.”

Each year the battalion trains approximately 140 cadets across all academic levels and produces an average of 16 lieutenants.

Northwoods Battalion history

In 2005 an ROTC partnership program was established at UW-Stout with 11 students. A program already existed at UW-Stevens Point.

Students from UW-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls took ROTC courses through UW-Stout.

In 2007 a partnership program was established at UW-River Falls.

In 2009 ROTC became part of UW-Eau Claire, and in 2010 a satellite agreement was signed.