ROTC branches unite for ceremony, formation run

Kelly Mcgowan

Two tri-service ROTC events are open to a public audience this week. The ceremonial changing of commanding cadets and midshipmen for Air Force, Army and Naval ROTC units will take place at 4 p.m. Wednesday on Central Campus along with a formation run at 4 p.m. Thursday around campus.

The formal Change of Command ceremony and parade is done in military tradition that honors each branch.

Ten consecutive ceremonial artillery rounds will be fired from a Howitzer cannon at the start to salute and honor Brig. Gen. William Dehaes, the guest of honor. Senior military instructor Master Sgt. Christopher Shaiko said these will be loud and the cadre doesn’t want people to be alarmed. Rounds will last about four minutes.

All cadets and midshipmen will gather by the Armory on Thursday in formation to run a 1.93 mile route while calling cadence. Each branch does its own calls, some of which show well-meaning rivalry.

“[The branches] are like brothers and sisters,” said assistant Marine officer instructor Staff Sgt. Christopher Harrison. “There’s rivalry, but if someone messes with the family, we’re always on the same team.”

This “motivational and uplifting” run will be the senior students’ farewell to the university and the underclassmen, he said.

NROTC midshipmen did a run like this on their first day of orientation to the program four years ago. Marine option midshipman Jovanie Martinez, senior in interdisciplinary studies who will commission May 9, said this run will signify where they started and what they endured.

“It’s a new beginning,” he said.