The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are elective programs for students who desire commissions in the United States Armed Forces. This year, 28 students will be graduating from the ROTC program, and starting active military service as officers with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
Commissioning signifies the beginning of a student’s active military service. Each student will take an oath of office in his or her respective branch of service in one of three commissioning ceremonies scheduled during the month of May, prior to the 210th Commencement ceremony of the Institute that will be held on Saturday, May 28, at 8:15 a.m. in the East Campus Athletic Village Stadium.
In the Army, the Mohawk Battalion operates as the Army’s only commissioning source for colleges and universities throughout the Capital Region. This year, five of the 14 graduates who were commissioned as second lieutenants are from Rensselaer. Of the 14 total commissionees, six will go into active duty, three will go into the National Guard, and five will go into the Reserve. Assignment locations for the new lieutenants include Fort Stewart, Georgia; Fort Irwin, California; and Fort Drum, New York. The commissioning ceremony was held on Saturday, May 14, at 2:30 p.m. on the Siena College campus.
From Naval ROTC, 20 students will be commissioned as ensigns and two as second lieutenants into active duty in the United States Navy or Marine Corps. Future career paths for those commissioned include seven surface warfare officers, three submarine officers, nine aviation officers, one Naval Reactors Engineer, and two Marine Corps officers.
The commissioning ceremony will be held on Friday, May 27, from 9 to 11 a.m. in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) Theater. Brigadier General Paul Kennedy will deliver the keynote address and oath of office. Brigadier General Kennedy was commissioned as a second lieutenant on May 18, 1985. From 1986 to 1989, and again from 1994 to 1997, he served as an infantry officer within the 1st Marine Division (2/4, 2/9, and 3/9) and was deployed multiple times to the Western Pacific aboard amphibious platforms. He returned to the Division as the G-3 Plans/Future Ops officer for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (2002) and later as the commanding officer 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, deployed to Operation IRAQI FREEDOM-2 in the city of Ramadi, Iraq (2004). He subsequently commanded the 2d Marine Regiment, from 2008 to 2011, and deployed to Operation ENDURING FREEDOM as CO RCT-2 in northern Helmand Province, Afghanistan (2010-2011). In 2013 he was assigned as Commanding General, 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, where he led the initial response to Operation DAMAYAN (Philippine typhoon, 2013) and Operation SAHAYOGI HAAT (Nepal earthquake, 2015). He is currently the Commanding General of the Marine Corps Recruiting Command.
His non-operational assignments include instructor duty at The Basic School and Infantry Officers Course (1989-1993); he served as the commanding officer of Recruiting Station San Francisco (1997-2000); director of legislative affairs to the U.S. House of Representatives (2006-2008); and director, Division of Marine Corps Public Affairs, Headquarters Marine Corps (2011-2013).
In the Air Force, five graduates will become intelligence officers, cyber operations officers, combat systems officers, and civil engineers. The commissioning ceremony will take place from noon to 2 p.m. on Friday, May 27, in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Auditorium. Lieutenant General L. Scott Rice ’80 will deliver the keynote address.
General Rice was commissioned in 1980 through the Reserve Officers Training Corps at Rensselaer, receiving his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. Following graduate school at Rensselaer to earn his master’s in industrial engineering, he attended pilot training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, receiving the pilot badge in 1982 and later serving in England where he flew the F-111 Aardvark.
General Rice joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Wing in 1989 to fly the A-10 Thunderbolt II. He then served as Squadron Commander, Operations Group Commander, Wing Commander, and Air National Guard Commander. He mobilized numerous times since 1995, including deployments to Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, and Iraq. He also served as the Commander, Air Force Forces, Exercise Eastern Falcon, in the U.S. Central Command Area of Operations where he supervised F-16 units deployed to Kuwait in 2004, to Jordan and Oman in 2005, and to Pakistan in 2006.
He recently served as the adjutant general, Massachusetts National Guard, Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts. He also served on the Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force Secretary of the Adjutants General Association of the United States.
General Rice is currently serving as the director of the Air National Guard, National Guard Bureau, Pentagon, in Washington, D.C.