A week ago today, a young man entered the community of United States Army officers, leaving his youthful cadet-ship behind for the gold bars of a second lieutenant in the Military Intelligence Corps. Generally, ROTC commissions its senior class at the end of the year, on the afternoon of commencement (making it a VERY big day for those graduates). However, 2LT Nehal Mehta was enrolled in the “Four Plus One” program, allowing him to stay at Vanderbilt an extra year in order to complete his MBA, so his commissioning was an individual and special occasion!
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend last year’s commissioning ceremony, so this was the first time I’ve been able to see a cadet become an officer. The actual process was quick – startlingly so. The cadet formerly known as Mr. Mehta raised his right hand and took a short oath:
“I, _____, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”
After taking the oath, 2LT Mehta had his shoulder boards attached by his parents, gave a brief and all-too-humble thank you to the people present, and pictures commenced. The ceremony, although brief, was a very cool (and frightening) glimpse into the future – Watching someone I consider a mentor and an exceedingly competent superhero become an officer is much different than imagining myself doing the same. Hopefully I’ll grow up between then and now?