MIT ROTC Commissions Six New Officers in Joint Ceremony

Sebastian R. Saldivar, Ensign, US Navy

The ROTC programs of MIT commissioned six cadets and midshipman as officers in the US Navy and Army in Kresge Auditorium on June 5, 2015.

Rear Admiral Paul Sohl, commander of fleet readiness centers and assistant commander for logistics and industrial operations in the Naval Air Systems Command, recognized the six new officers and MIT graduates during a ceremony featuring the US Navy Northeast Band. The new ensigns will go off to serve in the submarine, aviation, and surface warfare communities. The Army gained a new officer in their cyber command.

MIT ROTC Commissioning 2015The US Navy welcomed Ensign (ENS) Joanna K. Chen, ENS Connor A. Humber, ENS Stephen D. Johnson, ENS Erik O. Klatt and ENS Bridget E. McCoy. Cadet Andrea R. Dubin received her commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the US Army. The sense of family tradition was strong as four of the five ensigns were given their oaths by family members, including sisters, brothers and fathers.

Sohl, an MIT 1985 graduate with a Bachelor of Science in aeronautical engineering and a Master of Science from Stanford University in aeronautical and astronautical engineering, knows well the trials and tribulations that the six recent graduates endured. After designating as a naval aviator in 1988, he went on to command Naval Test Wing Pacific located in Point Mugu, CA; Fleet Readiness Center Southeast located in Jacksonville, FL; and the US Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, MD.

Sohl thanked the new officers and told them, “You leave here with the world in the palm of your hand, yet you are choosing a different path. You are choosing to open your hands to the world.” He urged the six officers being commissioned to “know your job…know your people…know yourself” and to “lead boldly!”

In a fitting reference to Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech, Sohl told the officers to “get in the arena” and spoke of the gratitude due to the new officers’ families and friends. ENS Stephen D. Johnson remarked, “I really appreciated Rear Admiral Sohl’s comments and his call to us new officers. It was a great culmination to four years of hard work, and I am deeply grateful to the lieutenants, the unit staff, and all the midshipmen I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”

MIT ROTC commissioning 2015The newly minted officers were happy to pose for pictures with each other and with their instructors, who have provided invaluable mentoring and guidance over the years. One of the instructors, Surface Warfare Officer Lieutanant David Lueck proudly stated, “The last four years have not been easy for them, yet they are well prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally for the challenges ahead.” The atmosphere in the entire auditorium and reception that followed was filled with admiration and pride for the newest ensigns in the fleet to carry forward the venerable naval tradition of honor, courage, and commitment.