Saluting Pirate Battalion’s newest second lieutenants who are proud to serve

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SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — On May 13, Seton Hall University celebrated New Jersey’s 11 newest second lieutenants at the Pirate Battalion annual Army Reserve Officer Training Corps commissioning ceremony at Jubilee Auditorium on the South Orange campus of the university.

“You have the skills sets to lead our country and our soldiers today,” Lt. Col. Trinidad Gonzalez Jr., professor and department chairman of military science, told graduates, according to a release.

Maj. Gen. Edward M. Daly, deputy chief of staff for U.S. Army Materiel Command, praised the second lieutenants, congratulating their families, and saying, “I am proud to be here today and to be an American soldier. Those who will lead America’s sons and daughters are America’s frontier.”

After administering the oath of office, family and friends participated in the pinning of second lieutenant bars on the uniforms. Next was the traditional Silver Dollar Salute. Each newly commissioned second lieutenant handed a silver dollar to the first non-commissioned officer who saluted him. That person is typically selected by the newly commissioned second lieutenant as a sign of respect and gratitude to the officer for training him.

The ceremony brought about a sense of eagerness for the 11 graduates.

“I’m ready to serve my country as a U.S. Army engineer officer,” Peter Cabezas of Whitehouse Station said. Graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in business administration, he is attending the Basic Officer Leadership Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., to be an engineer officer and platoon leader, mentoring 40 men and women. He expressed pride in taking a similar path to his cousin Martin, a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps.

“I’m ready to attend the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.,” Douglas F. Walker Jr. of Columbus said. He graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice from the College of Arts and Sciences. Active in Army ROTC and Phi Kappa Theta, after attending the Army Intelligence Program, Walker plans to complete a master’s degree in national security.

“I’m ready to be an Army nurse,” Dylan J. Waligroski of Wanaque, graduating cum laude from the College of Nursing, said. “I’m pursuing a career in the National Guard as a case manager, hoping to get a job in an ICU to be a certified registered nurse anesthetist.”

The Pirate Battalion includes 24 colleges and universities in northern New Jersey. The 2016 Commissionees include:

  • Ilir Bala of Morristown, cross-enrolled with Fairleigh Dickinson University, infantry, active duty;
  • Devin K. Borland of Oswego, N.Y., Seton Hall University, aviation, National Guard;
  • Peter J. Cabezas of Whitehouse Station, Seton Hall University, Corps of Engineers, active duty;
  • Kean S. Castillo of Bergenfield, cross-enrolled with William Paterson University, quartermaster, National Guard;
  • Courtnaey J. Chelf of Blackwood, cross-enrolled with William Paterson University, Medical Service Corps, active duty;
  • Samuel B. Dewerth-Jaffe of Haverford, Pa., Seton Hall University, field artillery, active duty;
  • Arjun A. Donde of Ronkonkoma, N.Y., Seton Hall University, infantry, National Guard;
  • Michael A. Duce of Omaha, Neb., Seton Hall University, infantry, active duty;
  • Franklin F. Montano of Rutherford, crossed-enrolled with Montclair State University, Corps of Engineers, National Guard;
  • Dylan J. Waligroski of Wanaque, Seton Hall University, medical services, National Guard; and
  • Douglas F. Walker Jr. of Columbus, Seton Hall University, military intelligence, National Guard.

Photos Courtesy of Ashley Wilson