By Dottie White (SMDC/ARSTRAT)May 9, 2019
Greeley, Colorado - Five cadets in the Army ROTC Program at University of Northern Colorado took the oath of office and were commissioned as second lieutenants during a ceremony on campus May 3.
Brig. Gen. Tim Lawson, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, deputy commanding general for operations, was the guest speaker for the ceremony. Lawson gave the cadets advice for success in the Army.
"There is nothing more rewarding than to have the opportunity to lead America's finest group of people, and that's our Soldiers," Lawson said. "The opportunity to wear the cloth of this nation is a special privilege, and we owe it to the Soldiers and their families to get it right. Never ever take this responsibility lightly.
"By virtue of you being an officer, you will always be looked at to lead. It doesn't matter what job or organization you are in. You are an officer in the U.S. Army now, don't ever forget that," he said. "This is a 24-hour job for you, regardless of whether you are in the Reserves, National Guard or on active duty. You need to place yourself at a new level starting today, because you are special."
Lawson continued by sharing his top 10 personal leadership recommendations.
One of those, Lawson explained, is that it is a "privilege to lead." Do not violate this privilege by having a "holier than thou" attitude.
"There is nothing worse than being an arrogant officer. Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge," he said.
"It is special to be an officer. You need to take care of the officer corps," Lawson said. "When you become senior ranking - captain and above - you will have junior officers in your charge. Take care of them. Mentor, train and develop them. You need to make sure that we are all successful."
He also talked about first impressions, doing the right thing, building relationships, humility, teamwork and letting Soldiers do their job without micromanaging.
And his most important recommendation was to live the Army values and warrior ethos. These are inscribed on a variety of products such as a dog tag, a key chain, a wallet card, etc.
"I recommend that every one of you carry this with you," Lawson said. "This will be your compass. This is your guide that will take you through any of the hard times you will face. Live by them, and they will take care of you when you need to be taken care of."
As the cadets prepared to don their lieutenant's bars, Lawson gave his insight on what they can expect in the next chapter of their lives.
"You will get far more out of this than what you will ever put into it. Today you are different from what you were yesterday," Lawson said. "Today, you are an officer in the United States Army and a leader. Remember that every minute of your life. People will look at you differently and have expectations, don't disappoint them.
"I want to thank you all for what you are about to do in your life and for this country. I wish you the best of luck in your careers and your lives. Thank you, and congratulations."
The newly commissioned cadets are 2nd Lt. Alexander Ayres of Colorado Springs, Colorado; 2nd Lt. Nathan Buttry of Albuquerque, New Mexico; 2nd Lt. Taylor Duffy of Menifee, California; 2nd Lt. Kyle Davern of Littleton, Colorado; and 2nd Lt. Connor Jennings of Thornton, Colorado.