ROTC Islander Battalion Celebrates Largest Commissioning Ceremony in Program History

By Luisa Buttler, Savannah Spears, Sydney Spangler | Published: May 14, 2019

ROTC Islander Battalion Celebrates Largest Commissioning Ceremony in Program History

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – In spring 2019, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi hosted its largest Army ROTC Islander Battalion Commissioning Ceremony in program history. The ceremony, held May 10, marked the transition of 12 graduating ROTC Cadets to Second Lieutenants in the United States Army. In further recognition of the program’s growth, this was ROTC’s largest number of cadets graduating within an academic year or annual commissioning cycle – which runs from December through August – totaling 18 Second Lieutenants.

“This ceremony continues to mark the important transition of our men and women into future leaders,” said Colonel Dawson A. Plummer, TRADOC Capability Manager ABCT and Reconnaissance and ceremony guest speaker. “These up-and-coming officers have proven their ability to excel in this rapidly changing world where their mental agility will continue to demonstrate their capability to operate and succeed in moments of challenge.”

The ceremony included the pinning of lieutenants’ bars by the soldiers’ loved ones, as well as 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.

“We’ve worked throughout many years to get to this moment,” said Second Lieutenant Brandi A. Lopez, who has been selected to attend the University of Maryland School of Medicine for Pediatric Oncology. “Finally having our ranks pinned makes it real to each and every one of us. There’s no greater feeling than this, right now.”

Also included was recognition of the program’s fourth ever Distinguished Military Graduate (DMG), Christopher Bowers, who earned a Master of Business Administration at the spring 2019 commencement ceremony on May 11. Bowers was honored with the presentation of a commemorative sword.

“ROTC has shaped me as a leader,” said Bowers, who has held various leadership and staff roles during his time at the University. “I was previously enlisted before coming back to school, but the program gave me insight I had never considered before. I’m not just planning for tomorrow, but for the next week, month, and year.”

Bowers was selected as a DMG by the US Army Cadet Command for his outstanding grade point average, Army Physical Fitness Test Performance, college athletic participation, and performance during college ROTC training and the Cadet Leadership Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

The Army ROTC programs continuously assist students in becoming the best version of themselves by facilitating their development in the areas of leadership, teambuilding, management, and physical fitness. According to Major Douglas Cruise, Assistant Professor of Military Science, the program is increasing integration with the University by participating with the catering program, growing its Cadet Club, and encouraging student involvement in volunteer programs.

The spring 2019 commissioning Second Lieutenants are:

  • Christopher Bowers with a Master of Business Administration                            
  • Brandon Eastwood with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance
  • Tyler Hensley with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Brandi Lopez with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences
  • Evan Luke with a Bachelor of Arts in History
  • Hamilton Maindelle with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Donovan Mascarenas with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Riksy Nunez with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Kai Paul with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science
  • Emmanuel Ramos with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Christian Simpson with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Edencille Urbina with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing