As students reflect on their college experiences, events such as freshman move-in day, hanging out with close friends, getting an A on a test that seemed to be impossible and counting down the years until their release into the real world may come to mind.
But for Gannon University Army ROTC cadets, there are many additional memories from their time at Gannon.
As May 10 approaches swiftly, MS IV (military science level 4/seniors) cadets have been preparing for not only graduation, but also their commissioning ceremony to gain the golden bars of 2nd Lieutenant ranks on their shoulders.
Cadet Company XO – Mitch Carroll, a criminal justice major; Michael Krysiak, a political science major and cadet S-1; Ethan Patterson, a nursing major and cadet company commander; and Eric Stormer, a political science major and battalion commander – will soon hand over its duties to underclassmen and make its way to its first duty stations.
Carroll and Stormer will both head to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., for their Basic Officer Leaders Course (BOLC) as military police, while Krysiak will travel south to Fort Benning, Ga., for his BOLC as an infantryman. After graduating from BOLC, all three cadets will move to their first assignment or duty station, where they will perform as platoon leaders.
While MS4 cadets brace for their new Army adventure ahead, MS III cadets who will be taking over their positions are preparing physically and mentally for their overall cadet-assessment course ahead: Cadet Leadership Course hosted at Fort Knox, Ky. Here, cadets must meet high standards set by the Army to ensure they are ready to take the next step into officership.
Not only are MS III cadets venturing out into the woods of Fort Knox, some have been selected to gain more experience inside a specific Army field.
Cadet Dylan Hyde will go to Fort Campbell, Ky., for the Army’s prestigious Air Assault School. Cadet Christopher Langford will head south to Fort Jackson, S.C., unit still pending.
And I will travel to Fort Riley, Kan., to work within an infantry platoon.
Meanwhile, Cadet Reyna Palanca will move to Fort Hood, Texas, to work within an aviation unit, and Cadet Lindsey Perz will fly out to Tripler, Hawaii, to work as an Army nurse for one month.
When Perz, a junior nursing major, received news that she would be traveling to Hawaii for one month of the summer, she said she became anxious and excited all at the same time.
“This will help make me more confident as I finish up nursing school in one more year and will help me feel more comfortable when I commission as an Army nurse and I’m working in an Army hospital,” Perz said.
Palanca said she is also grateful for the opportunity that has been presented to her.
“I’m excited to be able to see a different side of the Army – the active duty side,” she said.
Although the MS III cadets received slots for extra training on top of their leadership course, the MS IIs and MS Is are also busy preparing for their selective training this upcoming summer.
MS IIs and MS Is across the country competed for spots in the Cultural Understanding Learning Program (CULP) in order to gain the opportunity to travel to a foreign country and train with ally military personnel.
This year, four Gannon cadets – Anthony Sinagoga, Mackenzie Kranz, Ryan Davis and Damian Cicchinelli – gained spots. Sinagoga and Kranz, criminal justice majors and MSII cadets, will travel to Senegal and Lithuania respectively. Davis and Cicchinelli, engineering majors and MSI cadets, will go to Thailand and Chile respectively.
Both Sinagoga and Cicchinelli said they agreed that they would benefit greatly from their experiences over the summer.
“Many Americans take for granted the luxuries we enjoy as a country,” Sinagoga said. “These trips will teach us that even the simplest life here is worth appreciating.”
When Gannon Army ROTC cadets reflect on their college experiences, their thoughts will return to a time when good enough was below average, when low crawling through the mud was a physical reaction with no hesitation, when tracing a path on a map in the night within the woods was a normal evening.
They’ll remember counting down the years and days until commissioning, as a United States Army officer pushed them to excellence.