CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas- Five graduating cadets made their transition to the officer rank of Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony held Friday, Dec. 11, at the Harte Research Institute. In addition, the cadets were commissioned during the Fall Commencement ceremony held on Saturday, Dec. 12. The cadets commissioned were:
- L’Darius Douriso, Kinesiology- Douriso was born in Killeen, Texas. He graduated from A&M-Corpus Christi with a Bachelor of Education in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science in addition to a Minor in Military Science.
- Garrett Hemmerlein, General Studies – Hermmerlein was born in Prescott, Ariz. After he graduated in 2011 from Chief Sealth High School in Seattle, Wash, he enrolled at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in General Studies. While in the ROTC program, Hemmerlein served as Assistant S3 (training/operations officer), Cadet Battalion Executive Officer and Cadet Club Treasurer. Hemmerlein will commission into the Army Reserve as an Army Engineering Officer.
- Alexis Okumura, Nursing – Okumura was born in Fujisawa, Japan, and attended A&M-Corpus Christi upon graduating from Zama High School in Camp Zama, Japan. She received a national scholarship from Cadet Command and contracted into the Islander Battalion. Okumura will enter the US Army Reserve component as a medical-surgical nurse in Vancouver, Wash.
- Janelle Renee Romo, Nursing – Romo was born in San Antonio, Texas. After she graduated from Rockport-Fulton High School in Rockport, Texas, she enrolled at A&M-Corpus Christi and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a minor in Military Science. She has earned a commission as a U.S. Army Reserve Nurse Corps Officer and will be assigned to the 228th Combat Support Hospital Alpha Company, as critical ICU Nurse at Camp Bullis, Texas.
- Lizette Zermeno, Nursing – Zermeno was born in Chicago, Ill., and moved to Texas where she attended and graduated from Stony Point High school in Round Rock, Texas. After high school, she attended A&M-Corpus Christi to pursue her nursing degree. Zermeno graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and will be commissioned into the Active Duty Army Nurse Corps.
“This ceremony is a combination of everything I have done in my life” said 2nd Lt. Hemmerlein, “I have always wanted to join the army; I feel that this is the final point.”
The commissioning ceremony included the pinning of the lieutenants’ bars by the soldiers’ loved ones, and the Silver Dollar Salute, an Army tradition in which newly-commissioned Second Lieutenants present a silver dollar to the first enlisted soldier who salutes them. The coin symbolically acknowledges the receipt of respect due the new rank and position. To this day, 168 cadets have been commissioned as second lieutenants from Corpus Christi.
“It’s surreal, we have definitely been working toward this goal and for some of us, it has taken us up to five years,” said 2nd Lt. Romo “It’s just taking the next step into the unknown. It does not seem real yet until I finally get out there.”