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ROTC Officers Commissioned at ODU Ceremony

By Brendan O'Hallarn

In his remarks to 52 new officers during the Hampton Roads Joint ROTC Commissioning Ceremony, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Douglas G. Morton shared that they will soon learn "the secret" of their forthcoming experience as officers in the U.S. military.

Morton, who delivered the address Friday, May 9, at Old Dominion's Ted Constant Convocation Center, told the new officers that there would be a moment during their career when the awesome responsibility of a life of military service protecting the United States and its allies will hit home. At that moment, Morton said, they can confide in others who serve or have served that they know the secret.

"Once you get there, you will know what it is to serve your country. You who raise your hand at this ceremony will have that secret in you. It's a bond that you share," Morton said. "When you get that, everything else will be a piece of cake."

Fifty-two Army cadets, Navy midshipmen, officer candidates and Marines were commissioned in the ceremony, as they graduated into the officers' corps before heading to postings around the world.

They also heard words of wisdom and encouragement from President John R. Broderick, and commanding officers of the Army and Naval ROTC units.

Broderick said that this year's Joint ROTC Commissioning Ceremony was a morning affair, made necessary by an ODU commencement ceremony scheduled later that day. "But if you've ever been on this campus as the sun is rising, as I frequently am, the first students you'll see, always, are the officer candidates of the ROTC units, doing their personal training. It's truly inspiring," Broderick said.

The Hampton Roads Naval ROTC, commanded by Capt. Daniel Cave., was founded in 1982 and brought into being an innovative concept known as the NROTC Consortium. The consortium includes students from ODU, Hampton University, Norfolk State University and Regent University.

The ODU Army ROTC, under the command of Lt. Col. Brian D. Kerns, was founded in 1969 as part of the Darden College of Education. More than 1,000 young men and women have received their officer commissioning through ODU since the program's inception.

During his remarks, Kerns said the two ROTC units enjoy a friendly, but fierce, rivalry on the ODU campus. "It's really symbolic that this joint commissioning ceremony represents us coming together as a team for the joint purpose of defending our nation," he said.

Cave said the hard work officer candidates had done to this point is only the beginning of what will hopefully be a rewarding, fulfilling career of meaningful service.

"I'm inspired by your willingness to raise your right hand to serve," Cave said.

As part of the program, officer candidates had their officer bars "pinned" by friends and family members, then one at a time were commissioned as officers, performing their first salute to a family member or mentor.

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