Auburn’s Army Reserve Officers Training Corp hosted its biannual Branch Night Ceremony in the Alumni Center Thursday evening. Former Auburn football player and NFL player Kendall Simmons was the commissioner for the event.
“All the students that were assessed in FY18, they will receive their branching information tonight, and [this information] actually tells them what branch they will go to on active duty, national guard, or the reserves,” said Lieutenant Colonel Roshun Steele who is the commanding officer of the War Eagle Battalion.
The army has 17 branches which cover every aspect of operations with roles ranging from armor to cyber defense. Cadets branch placement is dependent upon a variety of factors including GPA, major, and performance on ROTC tests.
“It’s a very special day for the cadet’s because they find out, you know, what their career field is going to be,” said Major Paul West who is the recruiting operations officer for the War Eagle Battalion. “Great way to recognize them and their hard work.”
For this branching ceremony, 29 candidates branched and many of their friends, family, officers and fellow cadets came to observe the ceremony.
“I’m an MS4 cadet right now, so a senior cadet,” said Jacob Tofani, senior majoring in industrial and systems engineering. “I and a lot of other senior cadets right now aren’t graduating until December, so we’re staying an extra semester, so we’ll find out next year.”
Auburn’s Plainsmen came to the event and greeted everyone as they arrived at the ceremony.
“This [ceremony] really just relates to the Auburn spirit,” said Plainsman Mason Easterling, senior in nursing. Easterling related the Creed's notion of hard work to the Army's act of serving the country.
After the national anthem was played, Steele gave a short opening speech to begin the ceremony.
“We have a single mission, developing young men and women into future leaders of our United States Army,” Steele said.
Steele said that according to the NCAA, less than 3% of all college-athletes make it to professional athletics level.
“Unlike the NCAA, every cadet that completes our program earns a college degree, and 100% [go] pro.” Stelle said.
Simmons, the ceremony’s commissioner, spoke a few words on the importance of the ceremony.
“Whatever position, or whatever branch, or whatever you are about to get into, take it for what it is, enjoy each and every opportunity you have,” Simmons said. “The Steelers took great care of me, and the branch that you’re going to is going to take care of you also.”
The branching ceremony was designed to mimic an NFL draft with each army branch acting like a team. After each cadet’s branch was declared, they would take a picture with Simmons while holding a Steelers jersey.
“People around you are going to sleep under a blanket of freedom that you are going to provide them,” said Master Sergeant Chad E. Fisher. “Hold your chest up, out, hold your head up high, and be proud of everything you’ve done.”