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First Salutes Performed by 69 New Officers at Joint ROTC Commissioning

A total of 69 newly commissioned officers of the United States Army, Navy and Marine Corps performed their "first salute" during a festive, yet moving, ceremony at Old Dominion University on Friday, May 8.

At the Joint ROTC commissioning ceremony in the Ted Constant Convocation Center, guest speaker Brig. Gen. Brian P. Cummings told the officer candidates to treasure their time in the officer corps, as long as they remain enlisted.

"Whenever I run into former military members, no matter if they were in for two years, or four years, or their career, they tell me that being in the service was the best time of their lives," Cummings said. "The brotherhood and sisterhood of belonging, the camaraderie of being a part of something bigger than yourself, is something you are about to have for the rest of your career."

The morning ceremony included members of the Old Dominion Army ROTC and Naval ROTC Unit Hampton Roads, which is comprised of cadets from Old Dominion, Norfolk State University and Hampton University.

Old Dominion President John R. Broderick welcomed the audience, and noted that although he'll attend three Commencement exercises at the University this weekend, he holds a particular affection for the ROTC commissioning ceremony.

"There is something special, something touching about this," Broderick said. "It's the seriousness of your choice, and the significance of your chosen vocation."

Broderick also welcomed Cummings back to Old Dominion, as the veteran Army officer attended his own commissioning ceremony at the University in 1987. In his address, Cummings joked that he said to his father recently that he had no idea who delivered the address at his commissioning ceremony, only to be informed that his father was the one who had delivered it.

Cummings added that so many family members there to support the commissioning candidates had, or still have, their own military careers.

"It has become the ultimate family business," he said. "Our veterans continue offering their own sons and daughters back into the service. It's such a wonderful thing making such a great sacrifice back to our country."

Cummings has served in a variety of command and staff positions. In 1994, he joined the Acquisition Corps, serving as executive officer to the deputy chief of staff for combat developments from January 1996 to January 1998 and as assistant TRADOC system manager - Soldier from January 1999 to June 2001. His program assignments included tours as assistant product manager for the land warrior program at PEO Soldier from June 2001 to June 2003; associate director for early test bed engineering at the Missile Defense Agency from June 2003 to February 2005; and product manager ground soldier system from May 2005 to August 2009.

He deployed to Iraq as chief of staff for the deputy commanding general (advising and training) from June 2010 to June 2011. From June 2011 to February 2014, he served as project manager, mobile electric power and as deputy PEO combat support/combat service support from February 2014 to November 2014. He also served as a company grade officer in several command and staff positions in infantry assignments.

Army ROTC was established at Old Dominion University in September 1969 as part of the Darden School of Education. Since its inception, the program has grown in size and scope, with the establishment in the 1974-75 school year of a military science curriculum that is fully recognized by the University for academic credit. That milestone was followed in 2003 by the Faculty Senate approval of an academic minor in military leadership studies.

Naval ROTC Unit Hampton Roads was commissioned in July 1982, and developed an innovative concept known as the "NROTC Consortium." With this concept, NROTC Hampton Roads became the first unit to offer complete programs at three separate institutions, including Hampton University, Norfolk State University and Old Dominion University. Since its establishment, the program has grown to also include Regent University and Tidewater Community College.

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