May Commissioning 2018

On Mother’s Day,  May 13th,   Appalachian State’s  Professor of Military Science, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Kleman,  commissioned fourteen  Army Officers in Valborg Theater.  The ceremony started with acknowledgement of a retirement.   LTC (Promotable) Chris Marinakis, a 1987 Pre-professional Biology major at Appalachian State, served as an Army Aviator and Flight Surgeon in the National Guard and deployed three times over his Active and Reserve Forces Career. He returned to Boone in 2004 and entered into private practice as a urologist. Dr. Marinkais supported the program over the years as adjunct faculty, assistant Professor of Military Science, and faculty advisor to the Commando Club. He continues to interact with ROTC Cadets as the local Department of Defense medical examiner. In his remarks to the soon to be commissioned Cadets he emphasized in surgery, flying helicopters, and most of the Army’s grueling training that two people are required for success and that “the same concept applies to my military careers and yours. No matter  how long it is. It simply cannot be accomplished alone”  you have to have the support of friends and family.

LTC Kleman presenting the newly retired LTC Marinakis with his retirement award


The guest speaker for the ceremony was Colonel Bruce Leahy.  Colonel Leahy was commissioned as an Infantry Officer from Western Illinois in 1988. As an Infantrymen he Commanded a line Company in the 25th Infantry Division and a Recruitment Company in Illinois  prior to entering Special Operations.  As a Special Operations Officer he has commended  at every level of the Psychological Operations structure, from Detachment to Group.   His current assignment is the Deputy Commanding Officer for Support for the 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina. COL Leahy advised the lieutenants:    “Last week marked the thirtieth year since I commissioned as a second lieutenant. I’ve learned many lessons since then. Success in the Army isn’t guaranteed, but it’s not difficult, either. Being a good officer is simple. Be a good leader. Be ethically and morally competent. View the Army as a profession, not a job. Remember that relationships matter. And be flexible”. 

Colonel Leahy


Prior to commissioning the new Second Lieutenants, LTC Kleman stated  “It is unique that we celebrate a retirement on the same day that we commission officers.  But perhaps that should always be the case-- because it reflects the very nature of the Army.  The Army Song—“The Army Goes Rolling Along” is a testament  that though people change-- Army Values and its charter Mission remain the same.  Some 30 years ago, Lieutenant  Marinakis and Lieutenant  Leahy  stood  in front of a similar crowd as these Cadets before you now”

The following were commissioned at the ceremony: 2d Lieutenant Harrison Smith, 2nd Lieutenant William Wilson,  2nd Lieutenant Christopher Ruch, 2nd Lieutenant Ethan Marlowe, 2nd Lieutenant Nathan Reitzel, 2nd Lieutenant Jacob Best,2nd Lieutenant Connor Dickey, 2nd Lieutenant Daniel Ellis, 2nd Lieutenant Matt Hodges, 2nd Lieutenant Phillip Wagner, 2nd Lieutenant Alex Uzzell, 2nd Lieutenant Griffin Gray, 2nd Lieutenant Wilt Latham and 2nd Lieutenant Jack Simpson.

The swearing in of New Army Officers


Swearing in of App Officers May 18
Published: May 17, 2018 7:14am