HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – Nine University of Southern Mississippi graduates from the Department of Military Sciences’ ROTC program have made it to the next level in their military careers.
Zachary Beasley, Ryan Dean, Christopher Stewart, Seth Holloway, Landon Jackson, Samuel Smith, Devonte Wells, Addison Falls, and Emily Riter were promoted to second lieutenants during the annual May 2021 Commissioning Ceremony on Monday.
Lieutenant General Marshall Webb, who graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1984, was the guest speaker for the ceremony. Webb currently serves as the Commander of the Air Education and training command, as apart of the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas.
The students expressed their pride in earning a new rank. Beasley, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English and will go on to be an intelligence officer in the US Army, is thankful for his journey with ROTC at Southern Miss.
“We go from being cadets for four years to all of a sudden we are now lieutenants after this ceremony. We are entrusted with the lives and the well being of other peoples sons and daughters and that is an enormous responsibility, so that’s what’s on my mind right now that responsibility,” Beasley stated.
Lieutenant Riter, a Air Force legacy recruit who earned a bachelor’s degree in Geography, is motivated to conquer all obstacles ahead of her as the first ROTC cadet in Mississippi commissioned into the newly formed United States Space Force. She will spend her first year in the armed service as a recruitment officer before going on to the space force.
“I think if i can spend this next year helping students find their why, why they want to do this, why they feel a need to join the armed services, because it’s not something that’s taken lightly. It is a sacrifice, and you do make a lot of sacrifices along the way,” she said.