The Department of Military Science and Leadership at Arkansas State University commissioned eight ROTC cadets as second lieutenants during a recent ceremony attended by family, friends and university staff. The new officers also received their college diplomas.
Brig. Gen. Kevin Vines, director of the Joint Staff for the Arkansas National Guard, served as the guest speaker. An ASU alumnus with a degree in finance, Vines is a 1991 Distinguished Military Graduate from the ROTC program. He joined the Arkansas National Guard in 1995.
Lt. Col. Brian Mason, professor of military science, administered the oath to the new officers:
Cameron Bajorek of Jacksonville was commissioned into the U.S. Army Reserve, branched Engineer Corps. At ASU, he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He was pinned by his grandfathers, Jerome Bajorek and John Paul Burkhead, both of whom are military veterans. He received his first salute from his father, George Bajorek, also a military veteran.
Bonnie Kamei-Barkley of Fort Knox, Ky., was commissioned into Active Duty, branched Air Defense Artillery. At ASU, she earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, and a minor in military science. She was pinned by her father, retired Army officer Masahiro Kamei, and her mother, Heidi Kamei.
Bailey Cason of Blytheville was commissioned into the U.S. Army Reserve, branched Engineer Corps. At A-State, he earned a bachelor’s degree in history. He was pinned by his father, Kelly Cason, a military veteran, and his stepfathers, Phillip O’Tinger and Adam Howard.
Tyler Crutcher of Colt was commissioned into the Arkansas National Guard, branched Signal Corps. At ASU, he earned a bachelor’s degree in technology with an emphasis in computer systems. He was pinned by his parents, Donald and Bettie Crutcher, and his girlfriend, Kathryn Williams.
Nathaniel Allen Frank of Jonesboro was commissioned into the Arkansas National Guard, branched Engineer Corps. At ASU, he completed a bachelor’s degree in English literature and minor in military science. He was pinned by his fiancé, Whitney Barkes, and his mother, Sherrie Frank.
Kurtlynd D. McLane of Bossier City, La., was commissioned into Active Duty, branched Cyber Warfare. At ASU, McLane completed a bachelor’s degree in computer science. He was pinned by his fiancé, Kelsi Wood, and his brother, Chance McLane.
Tristan A. Skaggs of Brookland was commissioned into the U.S. Army Reserve, branched Signal Corps. Skaggs completed a bachelor’s degree in computer information and technology.
Kelsi Cheyenne Wood of Dexter, Mo., was commissioned into the Arkansas National Guard, branched Engineer Corps. She earned a bachelor’s degree in health studies. She was pinned by her parents, Shawna Hunsperger and Scott Wood, and her fiancé Kurtlynd McLane. Wood also was designated a Distinguished Military Graduate, based on qualities of leadership, moral character, aptitude for military service, and academic achievement.
Pinning is a tradition in which a newly commissioned soldier receives the gold bars of a second lieutenant from those who played a significant role in the officer’s mentorship, development and support.
The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) provides each new officer a one-year membership in MOAA’s national chapter, as well as their first gold bars.
The Army ROTC program, which began at ASU in 1936, started this past fall with 121 cadets, the largest cadet enrollment in the state.
At least 96% of the military science students at ASU benefit from ROTC scholarships, which are valued at up to $15,400 per year each for tuition, fees, room and board, books and a monthly expense stipend.