FORT COLLINS, Colorado - Colorado State University welcomed back one of its own for the spring 2018 commissioning ceremony.

Lt. Gen. James Dickinson, commanding general, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command and Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, spoke at the ceremony in the Lory Student Center on campus May 11.

Dickinson is a CSU alumnus where he commissioned as an Army second lieutenant in 1985.

During his remarks, Dickinson explained the magnitude of the commitment the 24 Army ROTC cadets were making.

"Today, with your oath, you swear your commitment to the security of our nation," he said. "You will write that blank check to the American people, and you will be entrusted with the care of America's most cherished asset - its sons and daughters. You will take on the mantle of the warrior leader.

"You are each here today with your own unique goals in your hearts for what you intend to achieve in life, but as Soldiers there are some things we will always have in common, that bind us together, "Dickinson continued. "We all share a belief that our Constitution is sacred. We revere our democracy. To protect and defend them, we are willing to offer our nation, and our brothers and sisters in arms, the very best of ourselves - and if the situation dictates, our very lives.

"And though we come from so many different backgrounds in the Army, we share the same values - loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. Being a Soldier and an Army leader requires living those values to the best of your ability, and instilling them in Soldiers."

Dickinson challenged the cadets to become good leaders, stressing the importance of the role of young officers.

"Learn what it means to be a servant leader, and lead by example. Know your Soldiers personally. Invest time in them. Mentor and coach them, and care for them and their families," Dickinson said. "Expect the best from them. Expect to see Soldiers demonstrate the qualities that you do. Expect high standards of discipline, but enforce it fairly.

"The qualities of leadership that people respond to ... that inspire Soldiers to fight fearlessly and win no matter the cost, are not just a list of words. They are habits to be ingrained ... to become a way of life. You must consistently and consciously practice them," Dickinson explained. "Do this, and you create the glue that binds a team together to win. Today, the Army is ready to entrust Soldiers into your care. It will be up to you to develop their trust, ensure their absolute readiness to fight and win at any time, and build an unstoppable team."

As the cadets prepared to pin on the lieutenant's bars, Dickinson gave his insight on what the Army expects from them.

"Carry on the great tradition of leadership and victory that began in 1775 with 10 companies of riflemen under the leadership of George Washington, and has since been tested in many storied battles, and great wars that threatened the very existence of our nation," he said.

"You are up to the task. The cadre and instructors here, your families, and the Army, have made that investment in you. There's no sugar coating it: there could well come a day, or many days, when you and the team you've built are tested to the very limits of endurance, and everything depends on the investment you made in them, and the trust they have in you. You're now ready to begin making that investment and building that trust," said Dickinson.

"This journey will take you to amazing places and reveal things about yourselves that many never have the chance to discover. Someday you'll leave the Army better than you found it, and our country greater for it. Thank you and congratulations, Class of 2018, for making the choice to be a U.S. Army Soldier," Dickinson concluded.