Penn College grads commissioned in online ROTC ceremony
With family members and other supporters joining them in person and on computer screens, Penn College students sworn into service are Hayden N. Beiter, of Cogan Station; Casey A. Curtin, of Berwick; Alex Hackenberg, of Middleburg; William M. Johnson, of Glen Mills; Jordan H. Murray, of Chambersburg; and Austin S. Weinrich, of Jenkintown. Curtin is a plastics and polymer engineering technology major; Hackenberg is enrolled in information technology: network specialist concentration; and Beiter, Johnson, Murray and Weinrich are graduating this year in residential construction technology and management: building construction technology concentration.
"Inspiring others and effectively managing resources are attributes that are highly valued – not only in the military, but in private industry and public life," Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour told the cadets. "Army officers know how to motivate people and problem-solve. More importantly, they demonstrate the values – duty, honor, loyalty, integrity, commitment, selflessness and respect – that are universally admired and desired."
Also addressing the new officers was Kent C. Trachte, president of Lycoming College, from which two graduates were commissioned: Ryan Litterer, a criminal justice major from Colonia, New Jersey; and Sam Pollock, a political science and criminal justice student from Wrightsville.
Additionally representing their respective institutions at the remote ceremony (which coincided with National Armed Forces Day) were Carolyn R. Strickland, Penn College's vice president for enrollment management/associate provost, and Michael Konopski, Lycoming's vice president for enrollment management.
Lt. Col. Jonathon M. Britton, director of the battalion ROTC program, administered the oath to the new lieutenants: Beiter (branched with the Corps of Engineers in the active-duty Army), Curtin (Air Defense Artillery, active duty), Hackenberg (Cyber, Army Reserve); Johnson (Corps of Engineers, Pennsylvania Army National Guard); Litterer (Military Police Corps, Army Reserve); Murray (ADA, active duty); Pollock (Aviation, Pennsylvania Army National Guard); and Weinrich (Corps of Engineers, active duty).
He also shared personal stories of his interaction with the cadets – some of them humorous, all of them heartfelt – as he ushered them into the selfless next step in their military careers. Each officer was pinned with gold lieutenant bars, received a symbolic first salute, and expressed his gratitude for those who have mentored and inspired him.
The Bald Eagle Battalion, the other members of which are Lock Haven and Mansfield universities, maintains a presence on Facebook.A recording of the commissioning ceremony is available online.
For more information about the Penn College Army ROTC program, send an email.
– Images captured during the virtual ceremony
... and receives his "Silver Dollar Salute" from proud grandfather, retired Spc. Edward Weinrich.
Surrounded by family, Austin S. Weinrich – acknowledged by Britton as ranking in the top 1 percent of cadets nationwide – takes his oath ...
Lycoming College's president adds his best wishes, telling the cadets that their education "will serve you well as you lead our nation's soldiers into a future filled with unanticipated and unimagined change."
Addressing graduates on the cusp of their new leadership opportunities, President Gilmour previews "what promises to be an extraordinary, lifelong adventure."
Making their commission official, each new officer signed his paperwork on camera.
Casey A. Curtin
Against a backdrop of the Stars and Stripes – one flag from his front porch and the other honoring his late grandfather, a Navy veteran – Britton presides over Saturday's unique ceremony.
Hayden N. Beiter
William M. Johnson remotely salutes retired Master Sgt. Steven Kowatch.
Jordan H. Murray