MURFREESBORO — Eleven senior cadets in the MTSU military science ROTC program were recently commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army.
Alumnus and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Terry Ethridge delivered the commissioning address before a packed house inside the Tom H. Jackson Building on Friday, May 10, telling the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets of the Blue Raider Battalion that “35 years ago, I was sitting where you’re sitting.”
Ethridge, a Murfreesboro resident, has served as director of the joint staff with the Tennessee National Guard since 2011. He reports directly to the adjutant general for joint force matters and assists in the external affairs functions including presenting and enforcing National Guard policies, plans and programs.
“Today you will embark on a new journey of your own,” he said. “You have chosen the most honored profession that any person can choose and that is service to your country.”
Since being commissioned with field artillery from MTSU’s ROTC program in 1978, Ethridge has led a distinguished career and continually advanced in rank.
“Remember we are still a nation at war,” Ethridge told the cadets. “With a war still going, your commitment and your professionalism, and especially your leadership are more important that ever before.”
Before Friday’s ceremony, Lt. Joel Miller, MTSU professor of military science, expressed pride in the cadets persevering to make the transition from cadet to officer.
“The cadets present here today have worked hard over the past several years to complete not only the requirements for a baccalaureate degree from this university, but they have also completed all the requirements to earn a minor in military science and to be commissioned as second lieutenants in our great Army,” Miller said.
All were expected to graduate Saturday, May 11, during MTSU’s spring commencement.
Those commissioned as second lieutenants included:
• Jared Blanchett of Chapel Hill, Tenn., will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in foreign language (French). He is the son of John and Janice Blanchett of Chapel Hill;
• Anita Booker of Clarksville, Tenn., will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice. She is the daughter of Gwendolyn Stevens of Clarksville;
• Dalton Bowersox of Smyrna, Tenn., will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. Married to Chelsie Bowersox of Smyrna, he is the son of Dawn Bowersox of Smyrna and Robert Bowersox of Smyrna;
• Joshua Dempsey of Ooltewah, Tenn., is completing a Master of Science degree in aviation. He is the son of Robert and Teresa Dempsey of Ooltewah;
• Juan Figueroa of Murfreesboro will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice. He is the son of Juan Luis Figueroa of Jacksonville, Fla., and Vicky Figueroa of Murfreesboro;
• Michael Graham will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history.
• Chase Morris of Dyersburg, Tenn., will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and food science. He is the son of James and Cynthia Morris of Dyersburg;
• Arthur Powers of Rockvale, Tenn., will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in plant and soil science. He is married to Danielle Powers of Rockvale and is the son of Joel and Jody Powers of Rockvale;
• Elliott Ralston of Murfreesboro will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and as a Distinguished Military Graduate. He is the son of Laura Ralston of Murfreesboro and Marvin Ralston of Unionville, Tenn.;
• Christopher Smith of Smyrna will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in professional studies. He is married to Emily Smith of Smyrna and is the son of Charlie and Ruby Smith of Nashville; and
• Sadi Swaney of Woodlawn, Tenn., will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in organizational communication. She is the daughter of Barton and Dorothy Brindle of Woodlawn.
Founded in 1911 as one of three state normal schools for teacher training, MTSU is now the oldest and largest public university in Middle Tennessee. With an enrollment of more than 25,000 students, MTSU is the largest undergraduate university in Tennessee.
MTSU remains committed to providing individualized service in an exciting and nurturing atmosphere where student success is the top priority. With a wide variety of nationally recognized academic degree programs at the baccalaureate, master's and doctoral levels, MTSU takes pride in educating the best and the brightest students from Tennessee and around the world.