Summer commissioning ceremony held for ROTC graduates


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (August 1, 2013) — Five new officers entered the ranks of this nation’s armed services during a joint commissioning ceremony today. Members of the university’s Air Force and Army ROTC programs were commissioned as second lieutenants at Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Museum. 

Maj. Gen. Gustave Perna

Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon
The newly commissioned officers for the U.S. Air Force are: Leshawn A. Boyd, project Engineer, Warner Robbins, Ga., Gordon C. Callaway, combat systems officer, Hampton, Ga., and Eien Q. Williams, developmental engineer, Charlotte, N.C. The new officer for the U.S. Army is Meredith Cheatham, Army Nurse Corps, Tuscaloosa, Ala. and the new U.S. Army Reserve officer is Whitney Ryans, unassigned, Tuscaloosa. 

The keynote speaker for the event was Maj. Gen. Gustave Perna, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics and Operations, U.S. Army Materiel Command. 

Using the example of a triangle, Perna told the graduates that it is important to create a model for keeping their priorities in balance. He said his personal triangle keeps God at the center, family at the apex and health and work at the left and right apexes.
“I worked hard on trying to keep the triangle intact,” Perna said. “You have to be competent in everything you do, especially in the military.” 

In addition to striving for competence in their profession, Perna said it is important to be a lifelong learner, have character and be committed to everything they do in life. 
“You must be committed to the service you are serving because you are protecting the United States of America,” he said. “300 million people in the United States, less than 1 percent of that 300 million serve in the military. You are part of that 1 percent. You must be 100 percent committed. ”

After being administered their service oath by Perna, Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon presented the new officers with certificates. Selected family members and friends pinned their rank insignias to the graduates’ uniforms and delivered their first salute to them. 

Later, Rochon presented Perna with the President's Leadership Award and gave remarks to the new officers. 

“I have great appreciation and pride in my heart for our five new Tuskegee second lieutenants. They fall into the category of those who have served this university and this nation with distinction,” Rochon said. 

New officer being pinned.

Group photograph of the new officers, ROTC professors and Rochon and Perna. 

© 2013 Tuskegee University

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