• The 1st and 2nd Regiments of the Army ROTC's Leader Development and Assessment Course graduated at Fort Knox, Ky., July 6, 2014. During the ceremony, 35 Cadets commissioned as second lieutenants, starting their careers as Army officers.

    From cadet to commissioned officer

    The 1st and 2nd Regiments of the Army ROTC's Leader Development and Assessment Course graduated at Fort Knox, Ky., July 6, 2014. During the ceremony, 35 Cadets commissioned as second lieutenants, starting their careers as Army officers.

  • A newly commissioned second lieutenant gets a hug during the graduation ceremony for the 1st and 2nd Regiments of the Army ROTC's Leader Development and Assessment Course, which graduated at Fort Knox, Ky., July 6, 2014.

    From ROTC Cadet to commissioned officer

    A newly commissioned second lieutenant gets a hug during the graduation ceremony for the 1st and 2nd Regiments of the Army ROTC's Leader Development and Assessment Course, which graduated at Fort Knox, Ky., July 6, 2014.

FORT KNOX, Ky. (July 7, 2014) -- The 1st and 2nd Regiments of the Army ROTC's Leader Development and Assessment Course graduated here, yesterday.

During the ceremony, 35 Cadets commissioned as second lieutenants, starting their careers as Army officers.

Each Cadet took center stage one at a time, and their loved ones pinned shoulder boards with their new rank insignia to their uniforms. Brig. Gen. Kurt Hardin, commander, 104th Training Division, presented their commissioning certificate, and they received their first salute from a respected Soldier close to them.

Second Lt. Christoper Ingram, of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana, accepted his certificate satisfied with the capstone to his college career that he was receiving.

"We're becoming second lieutenants in the Army," Ingram said. "It's been a long four years of blood, sweat and tears. It's nice to have it finally pay off."

Visiting parents and loved ones took the stage with the Cadets to attach their new insignia. The shoulder boards provided a visual representation to the Cadets' new rank. For Cara Wilke, the promotion meant she officially outranked her father, Warrant Officer Richard Wilke.

"I'm just as proud as a pea-pod, really," Richard Wilke said.

She plans to continue the family tradition in her career and with the Army. She attended West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.

"I'm going to start my career in transportation," Cara Wilke said. "We're all transportation; my mom's a truck driver and my dad drives a bus. It's kind of a family thing. Plus my grandparents were both in the Army. It's an honor to be with the family today."

Erik Michels, of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, took his new rank with pride.

"You go from being a college kid and having almost no cares in the world, to being in charge of a platoon of 60 people," Michels said. "That's huge. We're entrusted with America's greatest resources, and that's people's sons and daughters."

Page last updated Mon July 7th, 2014 at 00:00