POTUS commissioning
President Barack Obama commissions 14 Army cadets and those from other services at the University of Michigan's commencement ceremony Saturday.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (May 3, 2010) -- "The Big House" rose to its feet Saturday when the nation's commander-in-chief stepped to the podium to administer the oath of office to his newest junior military officers.

In all, 14 Army ROTC cadets became lieutenants when President Barack Obama delivered the oath in front of thousands who stood in support at the University of Michigan's commencement ceremony at the school's massive Michigan Stadium. Other cadets from Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps ROTC programs also were commissioned.

Army Cadet Joseph Ewald II, a prior-service cadet and history major, said the experience was "amazing." Ewald recited his oath five years to the day that he first enlisted in the Army.

"I had a lot of naysayers who said I'd never make it in the Army," Ewald explained. "Here I am today being commissioned as an officer by the president of the United States."

In a pre-commissioning ceremony the day before commencement, Ewald, like most of the other 13 cadets, thanked his cadre and fellow cadets for helping him achieve his commission.

Having President Obama administer the oath is the ultimate reward for a ton of hard work, said Adrienne Gibson, a cadet who ultimately will now serve as an officer in the same Army field as her father, a career non-commissioned officer and military policeman.

"I wasn't sure if I'd get to serve in the military police branch or not," Gibson said. "It was in the back of my mind though. When I found out, I called my dad and surprised him."

Gibson said her family, some of whom traveled from Alabama to see the commencement, were very excited to see her commissioned by the President.

At a pre-commissioning ceremony held Friday before graduation, family members of the 14 Army Cadets turned out to celebrate and pin ranks on the cadets. Ryan Park's father, mother and brother journeyed from South Korea to be present.

"I never expected to have the honor of swearing in by the president," Park said. "My family is extremely proud," he added. "Especially my dad. He was a noncommissioned officer in the South Korean army."

Retired Army Col. Louis Burgess, a former West Point and Army ROTC instructor, was on hand at the pre-commissioning event to read the oath to his son, Graham Burgess. Louis himself was commissioned by his own father, an Army officer who served in Korea and Vietnam, who was also on hand at the pre-commissioning ceremony.

The other 10 Michigan cadets who were commissioned Saturday were Aaron Brumbaugh, Kelly Carbary, Daniel Jones, Benjamin Karek, Steven Lewis, Richard Moreno, Christian Snyder, Jason Waller, Nathan Wellein, and Mercedes Xia.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16