New MTSU ROTC commissionees show ‘lots of potential’

MTSU’s ROTC program’s newly commissioned second lieutenants “have a lot of potential to do really great things,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Carrick McCarthy.

McCarthy, the chair of the university’s military science program, spoke about the trio who were recently commissioned in the Hazlewood Dining Room in the James Union Building and graduated Dec. 14 in Murphy Center.

The commissioning ceremony is a tradition for the ROTC program, which has seen the student cadets prepare for service to their country.

Those commissioned Dec. 13 as second lieutenants included:

  • Neily Jimenez, an organizational communication major from Christiana, Tennessee.
  • Ethan Roberts, an integral studies major from Dickson, Tennessee.
  • Rachel Teufert, an animal science major from Woodbridge, Virginia.

McCarthy shared how all three are heading to a distinctive military branch: Jimenez to the Army National Guard in intelligence, Roberts into active duty with military police and Teufert to reserved forces duty in military intelligence.

“All of them are highly intelligent and confident,” McCarthy said. “We’re excited to be able to do this — commission them and send them out into the real world.”

Family, friends, fellow cadets and military science faculty attended the ceremony.

MTSU alumnus and U.S. Army Col. Keith Scott, chief of staff in the Joint Forces Headquarters with the Tennessee Army National Guard since March, was guest speaker.

Scott delivered a “message about leadership, how to become a good leader and characteristics that surrounded that,” he said.

“It’s about being ready for the next mission, the next step,” he added. “You have to be prepared at any given time to adapt to the changing situation.”

McCarthy administered the commissioning oath. The new commissionees also participated in the Silver Dollar Salute, a military tradition where they hand a shiny silver dollar to the first enlisted soldier, sailor, airman or marine who salutes them.

The program, which is one of 11 College of Basic and Applied Sciences departments, also commissioned four cadets and contracted with four new cadets in August.

MTSU ROTC August commissionees

  • Sierra Austin, a biology major from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Anthony Burton, a political science major from Jackson, Michigan.
  • Mekaila Charsha, a nursing major from Maryville, Tennessee.
  • Kaitlyn Qualls, a criminal justice major from Murfreesboro.
  • Bryce Teague, a history major from Franklin, Tennessee.

2LT Sierra Austin, BS Biology, Murfreesboro, TN

2LT Anonthy Burton, BS Political Science, Murfreesboro, TN

2LT Mekaila Charsha, BS Nursing, Maryville, TN

2LT Kaitlyn Qualls, BS Criminal Justice, Murfreesboro, TN

2LT Bryce Teague, BS History, Franklin, TN

Newly contracted cadets

  • Brian Acosta, a criminal justice administration graduate student from St. Charles, Illinois.
  • Michael Maynard, a business administration (commerce) major from Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Joshua Smith, a criminal justice major from Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.
  • Tyler Vongpanya, a computer science major from Murfreesboro.

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