Starting the day with a rigorous physical training session at 6 a.m. is rarely one’s idea of fun. Not to mention regular military-style drills, Ranger Challenges, and Army ten-milers. Top it off with traditional college coursework and you’ve got a full load.
But that’s exactly what Ellen Johnson and Jessica Dulin have accomplished as East Carolina University students and cadets in the Reserve Officer Training Corps.
Johnson said this busy schedule has made her focus on the future and taught her a sense of professionalism.
ECU student Jessica Dulin completed her degree at ECU and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.
“Being in the Air Force ROTC was a challenge and required commitment,” said Dulin.
“It instills good values and teaches you leadership and teamwork.”
Both students received financial assistance from the military to help offset the costs of obtaining a college degree. They are among the 15 ROTC cadets who were commissioned as second lieutenants at the Army and Air Force ROTC ceremonies held on May 10.
The 11 Army and four Air Force cadets came forward one at a time to take the oath of office, swearing to protect and defend the nation and its Constitution.
The oath of office must be given by a commissioned officer, either actively serving or retired from any branch of service. The cadets select someone who has been important in their life to administer their oath.
“This is one of the ways we try to personalize the ceremony and make it more meaningful for everyone,” said Lt. Col. Sean Farrar, commanding officer of the ECU Army ROTC unit, Pirate Battalion.
Ellen Johnson is pinned with gold second lieutenant bars by her father Robert Johnson Jr. and her brother Robert Johnson III.
She said being in the military also gives her a sense of security.
“While some of my peers are wondering about where they will work, I don’t have to look for a job. I know what I am going to be doing for the next several years.
“At the age of 21, I will enter my first job as a platoon leader,” said Johnson.
The Rockville, Maryland native, who majored in communication, will complete the Basic Officer Leadership Course at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri. She will then serve at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, a maximum-security correctional facility in the Department of Defense.
Each new commissioned officer presents a non-commissioned officer with a silver dollar for his first salute.
“The exchange represents respect bestowed upon the rank as well as the promise that the second lieutenants will put into practice what they have been taught,” said Farrar.
Dulin and her twin sister, Jennifer, are starting a new tradition of military service in their family. Both received their commissioning on the same weekend and are political science majors. They will train as intelligence officers at Good Fellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas.
“Cadets transition from learning to living the core values of the military and take on a responsibility for the mission and the airmen serving under them,” said Lt. Col. Tom Glockzin, commanding officer of the ECU Air Force unit, Detachment 600.
“The ceremonies are a reminder of the commitment and sacrifices these young men and women and their families are making to serve their country,” said Dr. Glen Gilbert, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance, where the ROTC programs are housed.
“You cannot help but feel very grateful that we have such dedicated young people because the safety of this country is truly in their hands.”