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43 New Officers to be Commissioned at Joint Ceremony May 6 at ODU

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Forty-three new officers of the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps will be commissioned in a joint ROTC ceremony at Old Dominion on Friday, May 6, held in conjunction with the University's May commencement exercises.

At the 9 a.m. ceremony at the Ted Constant Convocation Center, newly commissioned officers will receive words of wisdom from Rear Adm. Richard Berkey, director, fleet maintenance with U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Shortly afterward, they will receive their command posts, and will be deployed around the world, helping to protect our nation's freedom.

The ceremony will include members of the Old Dominion University Army ROTC and the Naval ROTC Unit Hampton Roads, which also has students from Hampton, Norfolk State and Regent universities.

Berkey, a native of Windber, Pa., entered the Navy through Penn State's NROTC program, earning a bachelor's degree in civil engineering.

He became an engineering duty officer and attended Naval Postgraduate School, where he received a master's in mechanical engineering in 1989. He graduated with distinction and was the recipient of the Naval Sea Systems Command award for Excellence in Naval Engineering and the Navy League award for highest academic achievement.

Berkey's engineering duty tours have taken him to both coasts as a surface ship superintendent and nuclear ship superintendent at Norfolk Naval Shipyard; fleet maintenance budget officer on the staff of the commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; assistant operations officer for surface ship and submarine fleet maintenance at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility; ship engineer officer in the Maintenance Directorate on the staff of Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; assistant deputy commander for industrial operations at Naval Sea Systems Command; 102nd shipyard commander at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and deputy chief of staff for Fleet Maintenance, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

He has earned two Legion of Merit awards, six Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendations Medals and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

The ceremony will also include scheduled greetings from Old Dominion President John R. Broderick, Norfolk State University President Eddie N. Moore, Hampton University President William R. Harvey and Regent University chancellor and CEO M.G. "Pat" Robertson.

The university officials will be introduced by Lt. Col. Mark D. Rea of the Old Dominion Army ROTC. The guest speaker will be introduced by Capt. Daniel S. Cave of the Naval ROTC Unit Hampton Roads.

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 academically by the University. That milestone was followed in 2003 by the Faculty Senate's 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 institutions, Hampton, Norfolk State and Old Dominion universities. Since its establishment, the program has grown to include Regent University and Tidewater Community College.

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