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Student Experiences

An Oath to Support and Defend

The BYU Army and Air Force ROTC programs hosted by the BYU Marriott School of Business held three commissioning ceremonies during April and May 2022. The Air Force ceremony recognized 13 graduating cadets for their entries as second lieutenants into the United States Air Force, and the two Army ceremonies recognized a total of 18 graduating cadets for their entries as second lieutenants into the United States Army.

Major General William “Hank” Taylor, speaking to five of the graduating Army ROTC Cadets.
Photo courtesy of Dave Jungheim.

As part of each ceremony, graduates took an oath to support and defend the Constitution and faithfully discharge the duties of the offices in which they entered. Following the oath, two family members or friends of each graduate came forward to pin the rankings on the shoulders of the new officers. Finally, each graduate then completed their first salute in the new office.

Second Lieutenant Joshua McMullan taking his oath of office in the United States Air Force.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Baughan.

During the Air Force commissioning ceremony, Retired General Ronald Fogleman, 15th U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, spoke to the graduating cadets. During one of the Army commissioning ceremonies, Major General William “Hank” Taylor, currently serving as a deputy director for regional operations and force management for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke to the graduating cadets. Both men have demonstrated a career of dedicated service to their fellow peers, citizens, and country. They reminded the graduating cadets not only of their lifelong journey of service ahead but also of the valuable lessons they will learn in their careers, which will build upon an education that started with their BYU ROTC training.

13 Air Force Commissioning Cadets at the commencement ceremony.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Baughan.

“The biggest lesson I learned from the ROTC program is that leadership is all about people,” says BYU Army ROTC and nursing graduate McKenna Brown from South Jordan, Utah. “The best way we can do anything in life is by focusing on the people we work with and strengthening our personal relationships. The leadership in the Army is exemplary at developing quality relationships. Through this program, I’ve grown into the best leader I can be.”

The commissioning ceremony was an amazing experience because it was the culmination of hard work for all the cadets, noted BYU Air Force ROTC graduate Chantz Richens, a native of Price, Utah, who is currently studying law. “Being able to take the oath to support and defend our nation’s Constitution while being surrounded by wingmen, cadets, and others who have become such close friends was an experience I’ll never forget. While it represented the end of our time at BYU, it is humbling to see and imagine where all of us will go in the coming years as we fulfill our roles and missions for the Armed Forces.”

Photo courtesy of Dave Jungheim.

BYU Air Force ROTC commissioning cadets include Devendeep C. N. Brar, Colby Brown, Kaleb Earl, Connor Jones, Robert J. R. Lee, Michael McLean, Joshua McMullan, Cooper Merrill, Jon Rees, R. Chantz Richens, Joseph Stout, Brent Summers, and Christian Winward.

BYU Army ROTC commissioning cadets include Daniel Anderson, Jacob Anderson, Kallin Austin, McKenna Brown, Scott Cope, Samuel Greenwell, Ethan Hunt, Jose Jimenez, Colton Johnson, Ryan Johnson, Connor Nielsen, Colton Osguthorpe, Chad Patterson, Trevor Scoubes, Michael Sosa, Kelsie Taylor, Dantly Wilcox, and Austin Wright.


Writer: Sophia Shafkalis