Five MTSU ROTC cadets commissioned as Army second lieutenants

MTSU military science chair and U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jackie McDowell, foreground left, provides the commissioning oath to (from left) new second lieutenants Joe Bell, Richard Boland, Randell Luangrath, Paul Seaton and Parker Vegas Dec. 18 during a formal ceremony in the KUC Theater. J. INTINTOLI / MTSU

MTSU alumnus and retired U.S. Army Col. Jeff Davidson shared what he called “the three Cs” — character, competence and commitment — with the MTSU military science ROTC cadets Dec. 18 during the Blue Raider Battalion fall commissioning ceremony in the Keathley University Center Theater.

With family and friends in attendance, the five were commissioned as second lieutenants in the approximately 30-minute formal ceremony that is a tradition for the program.

The cadets, who graduated Dec. 16, include:

Joseph “Joe” Bell of Morristown, Tennessee. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. His status will be active duty with the medical service corps branch.

Richard Boland of Murfreesboro. He earned a Master of Science in Professional Science while majoring in geosciences. He will be active duty with the chemical corps branch.

Randell Luangrath of Des Moines, Iowa. He received a bachelor’s in business administration. He will be reserve forces duty with the Tennessee Army National Guard’s cyber branch.

Paul Seaton of Chapel Hill, Tennessee. He earned a B.B.A. in entrepreneurship. He will be active duty with the military intelligence branch.

Parker Vegas of Cut Off, Louisiana. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He will be reserve forces duty with the Tennessee Army National Guard’s military police branch.

Speaking briefly after the ceremony to Davidson, who is deputy mayor for Rutherford County, Boland told him he will “always remember the three Cs.”

“Character is something you have to work at,” Davidson (Class of 1985) said. “It is not something you can simply pull out of a locker, a duffle bag or a rucksack. Character is a verb, demonstrated on a daily basis in what you do, how you do it and why you do it. … Character can be lost in a matter of minutes or even seconds.”

Davidson said competence is “the demonstrated ability to perform your duty or duties to standard.” When they will attend Basic Officer Leadership Course — “one of the most important courses if not the most important you will attend in your Army career” — they will learn fundamental tools and skills they will carry for the rest of their careers.

They will have to master guns, grenade launchers, tanks and other vehicles.

Davidson said commitment is “wisely using precious resources entrusted to us, ensuring our Army is well led and well prepared while caring for soldiers.”

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