Four commissioned in U.S. Armed Forces during annual ceremony


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (May 10, 2011) — The U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army ROTC units held a joint commissioning ceremony on May 7 in the University Chapel. The speaker for the event was Brig. Gen. Balan R. Ayyar, commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.


“Today marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another,” Ayyar said.


Ayyar, also a command pilot, remarked on the rich connection Tuskegee has with the U.S. Armed Forces, including the one with the Tuskegee Airmen.


“This list is so important to our country… our culture,” Ayaar said.


Ayyar said it was commendable that the students were entering the armed forces and they should always be aware of themselves totally when rising in rank throughout their respective careers.


“Be aware of the inner transformation as well,” said Ayyar, who received the President’s Distinguished Leadership Award later in the ceremony. “This transformation is defined by the simple things in life. Great leaders are outcomes of their faith, knowledge and life experiences.”


After Ayyar’s address, he administered the Oath of Office to the four cadets. The cadets then received their pins and first salutes from their selected parties, many of them parents. Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon presented the new officers with their commissioning certificates.


Rochon spoke of growing the ROTC program and academic programs that could benefit it, including public health and forensic science.


“We will reestablish the Tuskegee Airmen — the next generation,” he said to a rousing applause from the audience.


Board of Trustees chairman, Maj. Gen. (retired) Charles E. Williams, was also in attendance. Williams was the first black to be named general by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


“You have crossed a stream, but an ocean lies ahead,” Williams said to the newly commissioned officers.


The new officers and their assignments are:

2nd Lt. Shayla K. Givens — U.S. Air Force Air Battle Management; Tyndall AFB, Fla.

2nd Lt. Christopher M. Harrison — U.S. Air Force pilot; Laughlin AFB, Texas

2nd Lt. Douglas C. Jenkins — U.S. Air Force pilot; Laughlin AFB, Texas

2nd Lt. Kristen A. Johnson — U.S. Army Reserve Duty, New Orleans

Kristen A. Johnson has her first salute as a U.S. Army second lieutenant.

Brig. Gen. Balan R. Ayyar, right, shakes hands with the newly commissioned officers. From left: U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Douglas C. Jenkins and 2nd Lt. Christopher M. Harrison.

New second lieutenants in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army, respectively, from left: Douglas C. Jenkins (Air Force), Christopher M. Harrison (Air Force), Shayla K. Givens (Air Force) and Kristen A. Johnson (Army).






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