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Six new U.S. Army second lieutenants receive standing ovation at graduation

Oath of Office given for first time at commencement

Menomonie, Wis. – Allegra Van Rossum described taking the Oath of Office and being commissioned Saturday, May 5, into the U.S. Army as a bit like a birthday.

There was cake, there were congratulations, friends and family gathered and Van Rossum along with five of fellow ROTC cadets took the oath at University of Wisconsin-Stout’s morning commencement ceremony at Johnson Fieldhouse.

This is the first time the oath was part of commencement. Following the oath, the new U.S. Army second lieutenants had their bars pinned on their uniforms and received their first salute at a second ceremony outside the Memorial Student Center during the department of military science spring commissioning.

“It’s a little surreal,” Van Rossum said. “It’s a little bit like growing up. It’s like your birthday.”

Van Rossum, of Sun Prairie, is a computer science-game design and development graduate. She has been assigned to the Cyber Corps, Active Duty Officer.

Her parents, Joe and Monica, pinned the bars on their daughter. “I’m very proud of her,” Joe Van Rossum said. “She is very persistent in working on a goal she set for herself.”

Samuel Hirsch, of Waterford, had his mom, Lisa Hirsch, his grandmother, Rita Hirsch, and his aunt Christine Arslanian, pin the bars on his uniform.

Taking the oath was at first a bit nerve-wracking, Hirsch said. “As we were going I felt an enormous amount of pride as I was standing in front of my classmates,” Hirsch said.

Hirsch is a manufacturing engineering graduate and is in the Armor Corps, Active Duty Officer.

“I am extremely proud of him,” said Nick Hirsch, Samuel’s grandfather. “He is our fourth-generation military.” Samuel’s great-grandfather, Robert, served in World War II. Nick served in the U.S. Marine Corps as did Samuel’s father, Nicholas.

Cole Quednow, of Ogema, a construction graduate who will serve in the Aviation Corps, Active Duty Officer, said he is leaving Monday for Fort Rucker in Alabama.

“It was just an amazing experience with just the reception we had,” he said of taking the Oath of Office during the commencement ceremony. “A lot of classmates were out there, and to hear their reception was just an honor.”

During the Oath of Office, the cadets filed onto the graduation stage and faced the audience. Brig. Gen. David F. O’Donahue gave the oath. Once done, the audience burst into applause and gave the new officers a standing ovation.

Lt. Col. Jesse Johnson, UW-Stout professor of military science and department chair, said the officers have pride in their university. Having them take the Oath of Office at graduation allows them to show that pride.

“I wanted them to be part of the commencement exercise,” Johnson said. “I think it was very well-received.”

Johnson said the newly commissioned officers spent four years developing their leaderships skills. “They experienced leadership challenges every single day. You have all done an outstanding job,” he told them.

Newly commissioned second lieutenants arrive at their units and immediately take charge of a platoon, where they make decisions that affect the health, welfare and combat readiness of their soldiers.

Cadets received handshakes, hugs and kisses from family and friends after the commissioning ceremony at the student center.

The ROTC program at UW-Stout is part of the Northwoods Battalion, which includes programs at UW-Stevens Point, UW-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls. ROTC stands for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. Separate commissioning ceremonies will be held on those campuses.

Army ROTC is a program of study that combines electives in military science with practical leadership training to prepare men and women to become Army officers. Upon successful completion of the Army ROTC program and graduation from college, cadets receive a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, the Army Reserve or the Army National Guard.

Commissioning recognizes a cadet’s transition from student to leader and is the last step taken before beginning a career as a U.S. Army officer. Ceremonies include a commitment to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. A cadet is granted authority to carry out the duties as a commissioned officer in the

U.S. Army. The authority to grant a commission rests with Congress.

Each year the battalion trains approximately 200 cadets across all academic levels and produces an average of 22 lieutenants.

The cadets, their majors and assignments are:

* Alexander Beyer, of Hudson, applied social science; Infantry Corps, Active Duty Officer
* Alec Boes, of Mercer, health, wellness and fitness; Field Artillery Corps, Active Duty Officer
* Hirsch, of Waterford, manufacturing engineering; Armor Corps, Active Duty Officer
* Nathaniel Hitchcock, of Mason, business administration; Engineer Corps, Wisconsin Army National Guard Officer
* Quednow, of Ogema, construction; Aviation Corps, Active Duty Officer
* Van Rossum, of Sun Prairie, computer science-game design and development; Cyber Corps, Active Duty Officer

Hitchcock and Quednow were awarded the title of Distinguished Military Graduate by the U.S. Army Cadet Command.

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UW-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer congratulates Nathaniel Hitchcock after six Army ROTC cadets took the Oath of Office to become U.S. Army second lieutenants at graduation Saturday, May 5. /UW-Stout photo by Brett T. Roseman


The newly commissioned U.S. Army second lieutenants received a standing ovation after taking the Oath of Office. It was the first time the oath was issued at commencement. /UW-Stout photo by Brett T. Roseman


Tom and Carmen Quednow pin the bars on their son, Cole Quednow, during the Spring Commissioning Ceremony Saturday, May 5, at the Memorial Student Center, as Cole’s girlfriend, Lauren Rusch, looks on.