Ten new second lieutenants – including four from Presbyterian College – were ushered into the U.S. Army during the Highlander Battalion’s annual commissioning ceremony on May 13.
PC president Dr. Matthew vandenBerg reminded the group they are members of a long, proud, and rich heritage.
“For more than a century, the Highlander Battalion has truly reflected what we at PC try to do across the entirety of our college – through all our disciplines, our programs, and our activities,” he said. “PC’s specialty – our secret sauce, our ‘it’ factor – has been to help our students hit above our weight class. To help them discover and realize potential they never even knew they had.”
vandenBerg said the Highlander Battalion has produced 20 general officers since its inception.
“Many battalions across the country, often far bigger than ours, don’t come close to that kind of result,” he said. “Quite simply, we hit above our weight class.”
Keynote speaker Brig. Gen. Robert Krumm, commanding general for the 81st Readiness Division, said future military leaders must also learn to adapt to an unpredictable future.
Krumm said the Soviet Union was the greatest threat to the U.S. when he began his military career in 1984, but the U.S.S.R. collapsed without armed conflict. Lessons learned from Vietnam helped the U.S. score a decisive victory during the first Persian Gulf War but did not prepare the military for the 20-year War on Terror.
“We’ve always gotten it wrong when it comes to predicting the future,” Krumm said. “And I predict now that we will continue to get it wrong, which, ironically, is the only prediction I can make that I can guarantee. The multipolar world in which we live creates a very different dynamic from the bipolar world in which I grew up.”
Krumm said tomorrow’s military leaders must neither rest on their laurels nor resign themselves to defeat – and instead dedicate themselves to continuously asking questions, learning, and adapting.
“Your formal education is just a small part of the process of continuing self-education that you must maintain to be relevant in any future,” he said. “So, I encourage you to never stop learning. And yet, in spite of the need to learn, what you learn is less important than to have learned how to learn. Thinking about how to think is what you must do to succeed.”
Two PC students earned awards during the ceremony. 2nd Lt. Jake Klimpel, a senior from Rock Hill, won this year’s Wysor Saber as the battalion’s outstanding Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet. He will serve on active duty in the Armor Branch headquartered at Fort Benning, Ga.
Cadet Gentry Hawk, a junior from West Union, received the Capt. Kimberly Hampton Leadership Award, given in memory of Hampton, a 1998 graduate of PC who was killed in the line of duty. A helicopter pilot and one of the first female combat aviation commanders, Hampton was shot down and killed outside of Fallujah during the Iraq War in 2004.
Other newly-commissioned second lieutenants from PC were:
- 2nd Lt. Nicole Crean – Guyton, Ga. – Army Chemical Corps
- 2nd Lt. Kenneth Huff – Orange Park, Fla. – Military Intelligence, Army Reserves
- 2nd Lt. Meredith Moore – Roswell, Ga. – Army Quartermaster Corps