Navy commanders commissioned 16 GW students as military officers at a Navy ROTC ceremony Friday morning in the Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre.
Keynote speaker Vice Adm. Norbert R. Ryan Jr., president of the Military Officers Association of America, said the 29 GW Navy ROTC ensigns – who are from Catholic, Georgetown, Maryland and GW – are part of the second “greatest generation.” He said he observed firsthand the dedication and commitment of today’s young soldiers when he toured Iraq with Gen. David Petraeus, who oversees all American military forces in the country.
“Gen. Petraeus told me that as I went out and met with our troops serving in Iraq, I would come to the same conclusion he did – and that is that today, our all-volunteer force is next greatest generation, just like our World War II generation,” Ryan said. “Volunteers voluntarily serve when our nation is at war to preserve our freedom and protect our mainland. And I saw that as I went out to Iraq, that this was another greatest generation.”
Richard Southby, a GW professor and the Navy ROTC representative to the University, shared a quote from President John F. Kennedy in which the former president said he had the “best of both worlds” by graduating from Harvard University and receiving an honorary degree from Yale University. The GW professor said the Navy ROTC class of 2008 also had the “best of both worlds.”
“You will be graduating from excellent universities,” Southby said. “In addition, you have successfully completed all the required education and training to be commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy or the United States Marine Corps. I conclude from this that all of you have a strong commitment in being in service to the nation.”
GW student Adam Hoover, who will serve with the Marine Corps, said the completion of ROTC had not fully set in yet.
“It’s gone by fast,” Hoover said following the event. “But they certainly made us earn it.”