ABOVE: U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jimmie Cole Jr. administers the commissioning oath to the Army’s newest second lieutenants Friday, May 3, at the MTSU Veterans Memorial outside the Tom H. Jackson Building. // MTSU photo by Randy Weiler
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY
Students from Franklin and Nolensville were among 19 MTSU seniors awaiting graduation were commissioned as U.S. Army second lieutenants May 3 during a formal ceremony in the Veterans Memorial outside the Tom H. Jackson Building.
The students formally graduated the next day.
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jimmie L. Cole Jr., land component commander for the Tennessee Army National Guard, provided remarks, welcoming the new commissionees into the next chapter of their military careers.
The ceremony is a tradition for the ROTC program, which has seen the student cadets prepare for service to their country.
Those commissioned as second lieutenants were:
• Courteney Anderson, a criminal justice major from Jasper, Tennessee.
• Tyler Bailer, a mechatronics engineering major from Woodbury, Tennessee.
• Kristian Bellew, an aerospace major from Atoka, Tennessee.
• Terrah Black, a speech/language pathology major from Clarksville, Tennessee.
• Winston Bogle, a criminal justice major from Nolensville, Tennessee.
• Tyler Braun, an exercise science major from Shelbyville, Tennessee.
• Amber Cetinel, a journalism major from Murfreesboro.
• Hunter Coppinger, an aerospace major from McMinnville, Tennessee.
• Jacob Cunningham, a finance major from Franklin, Tennessee.
• Travis Drawdy, an aerospace major from Shelbyville.
• Jason Gurch, an engineering technology major from Murfreesboro.
• Antonio Hiles, a criminal justice major from Shelbyville.
• Chris Hilton, a criminal justice major from Nashville, Tennessee.
• Sydney Moskovitz, an accounting major from Murfreesboro.
• Matthew Murphy, an interdisciplinary studies major from Nashville.
• Tyler Newman, a geoscience major from Coldwater, Mississippi.
• Devin Pope, a political science major from Chattanooga, Tennessee.
• Aaron Smith, a management major from Smyrna, Georgia.
• Seth Whitehead, a journalism major from Tullahoma, Tennessee.
Cole’s message to the newly commissioned second lieutenants was about “basic leadership and to master the basics and to focus on their time as a platoon leader,” he said.
“They need to make sure they incorporate and empower their noncommissioned officers that’ll be their counterparts, make sure they take care of their soldiers, take prudent risks and be accountable,” Cole added. “I want to thank them for their selfless service and their sacrifices they are making for our state and nation.”
Lt. Col. Carrick McCarthy oversaw the ceremony as the leader of the Department of Military Science and introduced Cole.
“This is a phenomenal group that’s highly talented,” McCarthy said. “This is the first group I’ve seen all the way through (a full year). It’s equal parts National Guard, Army Reserves and active duty. Each component of the Army is going to receive quality individuals.”
McCarthy said to his knowledge Gurch is the first active-duty commissionee from MTSU who will be going into the Army’s cyber branch “countering cyber threats from some of our adversaries.”
McCarthy added the ROTC program remains excited that Cetinel recently received the Pallas Athene Award for being one of the top two female cadets in the U.S.