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ROTC Commanding Officers Reflect on their Careers - and the Future of the Armed Forces - at Commissioning Ceremony

The recent ROTC commissioning ceremony at Old Dominion University represented a graduation into the ranks of commissioned officers for Army and Naval ROTC cadets from ODU and NROTC cadets from Hampton University and Norfolk State University.

Twelve Army ROTC cadets were commissioned as officers, and 34 Old Dominion University Naval ROTC candidates were commissioned, along with four from Hampton University.

It also represented a graduation of sorts for the commanding officers of the two units on campus.

For Lt. Col. William Brown, commanding officer of ODU's Army ROTC, and Capt. Mike "Breeze" Barea, commanding officer of the Naval ROTC, the May 7 ceremony was the final one they will oversee at ODU.

Both are moving on to new posts by the end of the summer. The officers reflected on their time at the school as the ceremony took place at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

"As I watched our cadets walk across the stage, it really hit me that I was leaving ODU after three very eventful years," Brown said. "I was lucky to be at ODU at a great time and will never forget it."

Barea said as he watched the commissioning ceremony, "I reflected on my 30-year career with the Navy and felt envious of these newly commissioned officers' recent accomplishment and appointment."

Barea said he draws hope for the future of the country when he looks at the "graduates" from ODU's ROTC programs.

"There are many uncertainties that lay ahead but there's steadfastness, a willingness to serve within our ROTC student body as our nation's next generation of defenders. They are a study of individual courage, responsibility and the moral fortitude of which people are capable in times of crisis."

Brown said he arrived at the school at a time of incredible growth, with the build-up toward ODU's first football game last fall. "We saw it in our Army ROTC program, too, as we doubled in size and have become one of the premier programs in the nation."

Barea said both ROTC units on campus have had a wonderful working relationship with host school ODU.

"I was touched and moved in what I witnessed last Friday evening: the future and pride of our nation displayed before us, the emotions expressed by family members, it was something to behold. The venue was perfect and the campus grounds were beautiful," he said.

Brown said working in ROTC has been a completely different experience from serving in the regular Army, "but I really feel like we are making a difference. I have been able to train students on military tasks and work with them as they mature and progress through college. To see this year's class, who were all sophomores when I got here, graduate and commission as officers was very moving and made me realize that this was the right place for me."

At the ceremony, along with dignitaries from the military and ODU, candidates heard the commissioning address delivered by Vice Adm. David Architzel, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition).

Architzel, a New Yorker, served naval tours all over the board, on ships such as USS Independence and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was commanding officer of the USS Guam, flagship for Amphibious Squadron 2.

Ashore, Architzel was selected for the Navy's Test Pilot School, and has has accumulated more than 5,000 flight hours, 4,300 in the S-3 and the remainder in some 30 other aircraft types.

His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, four Legions of Merit, three Meritorious Service Medals, the Navy Achievement Medal and various service-related awards and campaign ribbons.

This article was posted on: May 13, 2010

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