The Scarlet Knight Battalion, one of the oldest Army ROTC programs in the nation, commissioned 17 graduating students who were recognized for achieving the rank of Second Lieutenant during a recent ceremony at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
“We are blessed to be partnered with a university who truly cares for its veterans and ROTC students,” said professor of military science and Lieutenant Colonel Javier A. Cortéz in his opening remarks. “It’s been a challenging year for our cadets and our nation, but they stepped up and demonstrated they are men and women of character, resiliency, tenacity and grit. Even with all these traits, they remained humble and made sure to mentor their younger classmates. I could not be more proud.”
The Scarlet Knight Battalion has been around since 1917 conducting training, education and development of cadets in order to commission quality Second Lieutenants that are physically and mentally equipped to handle military service. After graduation, graduates serve as commissioned officers on active duty, or as an officer in an Army Reserve or National Guard unit.
“Managing a rigorous training program to becomes officers in the United States Army at the same time as managing to be full-time students and committed to all of the other activities in your lives here at Rutgers can be challenging,” said vice provost for undergraduate education Carolyn Moehling. “But you had the courage to take that first step, you had the resolve to put in the hard work and you were able to persevere through unprecedented challenges.”
For the graduates, the ceremony marked the culmination of a long journey.
“I was in the Army before I started at Rutgers, so I've been pursuing this as a career for a long time. It means a lot to me to finally be here and this be the culmination of all my efforts, especially with my parents here to share in it with me,” said graduate Robert Armaslandau, who was pinned by his parents.
During the ceremony, Cadet Elon Lee sung the national anthem, Chaplain Daniel Yang delivered the invocation and Captain Richard Trotter served as master of ceremonies.
Brigadier General Lisa J. Hou, the Adjutant General of New Jersey and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, delivered the commissioning address and oath of office before cadets were pinned of their new rank.
“I am so excited to welcome the newest members of the military community, not only officers, but your family and friends as well,” said Hou. “Currently, less than one half of one percent of people currently serve in the armed forces. Few people will know how this accomplishment feels, so take pride in becoming part of a team that is dedicated to lead when no one else can.”
Graduates also reflected on their futures and how they arrived at the moment.
“It's the start of a new chapter in my life. Joining the Army as second Lieutenant was not in my plans originally, but going this far has been very fulfilling and I'm very excited for what's to come,” said graduate Denise Coronel, who was pinned by her parents.
Check out highlights from the event as we continue to celebrate the Class of 2023.