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Lt. Gen. Bednarek '75 Stresses Leadership During ROTC Commissioning Ceremony

ODU alumnus Lt. Gen. John M. Bednarek '75 stressed the importance of citizenship, leadership and values during the joint Army/Naval ROTC commissioning ceremony Friday, May 6 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. "You made a commitment to serve our county in a great time," Bednarek told the 60 officer candidates from Old Dominion, Hampton and Norfolk State universities. "You are the reason we are the greatest nation on earth."

Opening the ceremony, ODU President John Broderick thanked the families and congratulated the candidates. "You are a special breed of young patriots. You are among the best the nation has to offer," he said.

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Chesapeake) spoke next telling the candidates that they personify courage in the face of danger. "You guarantee that the flag we pledge allegiance to stands for freedom," he said.

During his keynote, Bednarek reflected on his time as a student at Old Dominion and the core values of his education. "What you've learned here will be central to your future . . . listen and be thankful," he said.

Noting that the military makes up one percent of the nation's population, he stressed that quality not quantity of our troops are integral for the future. "Your strength is our strength . . . Where ever you do, what ever you do, you are ambassadors to the United States."

Bednarek, who received his officer commissioning at ODU in 1975, has served in a variety of high-profile postings in the United States, Europe and the Pacific, including his most recent command, the First Army at Fort Gillem, Ga.

His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Valorous Unit Award, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award and the Army Superior Unit Award. He also earned the Combat Action, Master Parachutists, Pathfinder, Freefall and Scuba Diver Badges.

This article was posted on: May 7, 2011

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