NSU ROTC cadets commissioned as U.S. Army officers

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Four graduating NSU ROTC cadets were commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army in conjunction with graduation ceremonies May 7. From left are 2nd Lt. Gennyfer Pena-Guzman, 2nd Lt. Ethan P. Lewis, 2nd Lt. Neil Ahldwin M. Garcia and 2nd Lt. Bruna F. Galarza.

NATCHITOCHES – Four graduating senior ROTC cadets from Northwestern State University’s 71st Demon Battalion were commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Army Friday, concluding three days of commencement ceremonies and celebrations.

The cadets completed not only academic requirements for graduation, but also special military training to become an officer. The four took their oath during the sixth and final graduation ceremony May 7 and were commissioned in a separate ceremony that followed, joined by family and friends.  Lt. Col. Wendell Bender, senior military instructor, issued the oath.

The new officers are 2nd Lt. Ethan P. Lewis of Dry Prong, 2nd Lt. Bruna F. Galarza of Leesville, 2nd Lt. Neil Ahldwin M. Garcia of Zachary, and 2nd Lt. Gennyfer Pena-Guzman of Kenner.

Lewis earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and a minor in military leadership.   He has branched Infantry and will serve in the Texas Army National Guard.

Galarza earned a Master of Science in Homeland Security. She has branched Adjutant General’s Corps and will serve in the U.S. Army Reserve.  She completed her degree through the Green to Gold program. Upon commissioning she received the George C. Marshall Award.

Garcia earned a Bachelor of General Studies with minor in social science.  He has been selected for active duty in the Adjutant General’s Corps.

Peña – Guzman graduated with honors with a degree in biology with a concentration in biomedical and a minor in military leadership.  She has been selected for active duty in the Adjutant General’s Corps. She was named a Distinguished Military Graduate.

Lt. Col Jeffrey C. Mathews offered remarks and encouragement to the new officers.  Mathews is Chief, Air National Guard Bands for the National Guard Bureau and chief policy maker and advisor for all Air National Guard Bands. Dr. Mathews is also an associate professor of music and for the past eight years has served as director of bands at NSU.

The Department of Military Science also recognized NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio for his steadfast support to the ROTC program.  Maggio will retire June 30.

Information on NSU’s Department of Military Science and ROTC is available at https://rotc.nsula.edu/.