Western Courier

ROTC Commissioning

Shannon Norris

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 Western Illinois University’s ROTC Leatherneck Battalion will be hosting the fall commissioning ceremony Friday Dec. 18.

 Students, faculty and anyone else that is able to make it can come to watch the commissioning of Cadet Laurkee Wiggins as she prepares to head on to her next assignment with the United States Army.

 Senior Military Science Instructor Master Sgt. Todd Robertson explained who would be at the ceremony.

 “The timeline of the events that happen is: The official party comes in, which is the professor of military science, the president of the university, the mayor of Macomb and then there’s Board of Trustees members that usually come in. Not all of them, but there’s one or two that show up,” Robertson said.

 After this, Robertson said that the Wiggins will perform the typical actions seen in a commissioning ceremony.

 “We’ll come in and sit down and the emcee will read pretty much the background of ROTC and how it started in 1916 and continue on about that,” Robertson said. “Cadet Wiggins will come up front and Col. Helling will read the oath to her and swear her in and he will read his speech.”

 “Once he’s done she’ll go sit down and they’ll read how the commissionaires will receive their gold bars and talk about her getting promoted and then she’ll come back to the front facing everybody and her family members will come up while we read a little bio about her and she’ll get her gold bars pinned on her,” Robertson continued.

 Robertson also talked about the silver dollar salute, a long-standing tradition within the United States military.

 “It’s the first salute that a lieutenant gets once they become a lieutenant and they give a silver dollar to that person and that’s just a historical thing that goes on and it’s part of the tradition,” he said.

 Wiggins, 23, is a senior majoring in psychology with a minor in military science. She came to Western on an academic scholarship and is part of the Centennial Honors College and vice president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She will be branching in the ordinance field as an active duty officer and will be heading to Basic Officers’ Leadership Course  (BOLC) in Fort Lee, Virginia in January.

 Wiggins managed to stay committed to the ROTC while also being a full-time student as well as a parent.  “I had a lot of naysayers, like people thought after being pregnant that I wouldn’t be able to remain physically fit,” she said. “So, I came back into the program and went from a PT score of 240 to 300. Studying it was hard, but I had friends and family members to look after her. Working out relieved a lot of stress. Knowing when to study and how to study and meeting deadlines prior ‘til was really big. Being positive and knowing at the end of the day I have a life to take care of.”  The commissioning ceremony will take place in the Brattain Lounge in the University Union at 3:45 p.m., and refreshments will be served.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
ROTC Commissioning