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Seven SU ROTC Graduates Commissioned as U.S. Army Second Lieutenants

Seven SU ROTC Graduates Commissioned as U.S. Army Second Lieutenants

SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University’s Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program sends some of the University’s brightest minds and top leaders into the U.S. Army ready to serve their country.

In the past 15 years, more than 60 SU graduates have been commissioned as second lieutenants upon their completion of the program at SU.

Recently, the seven newest graduates of the program were commissioned as second lieutenants in a ceremony presided over by Brigadier General Janeen L. Birckhead, Maryland Army National Guard commander.

Jericho Barbosa of Millersville, MD, was pinned by his parents, Lolly and Rudy Barbosa. He received his first salute from his pastor, Richard Pope.

Thanupetch Fields of Salisbury is a first-generation college student who emigrated from Thailand. He was pinned by his parents, Dan and Wichien Fields. He received his first salute from his father.

Zachery Gaines of Waldorf, MD, was pinned by his father Andrew Gaines, his mother, Kara Breck, and his stepfather, former U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Andy Beck. He received his first salute from his sister Airman First Class Allison Beck.

Elizabeth Hernandez of La Plata, MD, was pinned by her parents, Stacy and Patrick Hernandez. She received her first salute from her grandfather Bob Fraser.

Nathaniel Hricz of Forrest Hill, MD, was pinned by his mother, Pam Hricz, and his father, retired U.S. Army Ranger Lieutenant Colonel Ken Hricz. He received his first salute from U.S. Army Specialist Tyler Dugan.

Samantha Palmrose of Gaithersburg, MD, was pinned by her parents, Donald and Katherine Primrose. She received her first salute from Sergeant James Wyatt. 

Megan Zegel of Huntingtown, MD, was pinned by her mother Renee Zegel, her father retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jim Zegel, and her sister, Madison Zegel. She received her first salute from her grandfather, Ronald Cole.

“ROTC has allowed all of us to stand apart from our fellow classmates,” said Megan Zegel, who recently graduated SU with a B.S. in nursing. “This program gives me a sense of being a part of something so much larger than just one person or one school.

“ROTC gives every last one of us the privilege to develop our leadership skills in order to selflessly serve our country. The skills I have cultivated while being a part of this program have allowed me to build upon the absolutely essential techniques of leadership and advocacy needed to speak up for patients in times of need.

“A blend of both the ROTC program, as well as the nursing program, has fully prepared me to be the best officer and nurse I can be in my professional career.”

“It is always an honor to meet and work with the students that come through the ROTC program at Salisbury University,” said Dr. Laurie Henry, dean of SU’s Marilyn C. and Samuel W. Seidel School of Education and a U.S. Air Force veteran. “These are young men and women who strive for something more out of their college and professional experience, and they leave SU ready to lead in whatever future path they choose.”

SU’s ROTC program began in the 1970s and was re-established in fall 2008 after a hiatus of nearly a decade. In conjunction with the University of Delaware’s ROTC program, cadets participate in regular classes and training exercises. SU’s program has seen interest climb in recent years.

“We have seen a surge in enrollment in our ROTC program, with our last four senior classes being the largest since the program’s re-instatement in 2008,” said Henry. “These individuals are committed to becoming better citizens, future leaders, and make SU a better institution with their enrollment and commitment to serving our country.” 

“ROTC has provided my peers and me with an abundance of opportunities,” said Zegel. “This program has instilled a sense of responsibility in all of us by emphasizing discipline, accountability and commitment.

“Through taking part in various training activities, like field training exercise and superlab, we have all had the opportunity to learn how to better prioritize our assigned tasks, manage our time and follow through on all commitments expected of us.”

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