Cadets promoted to second lieutenants during annual ROTC Commissioning Ceremony

Two cadets were awarded for their dedication to fulfilling the requirements of Alcorn State University’s ROTC program.

Khadijah Fleming, a Memphis, Tennessee native and William Gurtowski, a Vicksburg, Mississippi native, were promoted to second Lieutenants Thursday, Dec. 6 during the Fall 2018 ROTC Commissioning Ceremony at the Oakland Memorial Chapel. Col. Timothy W. Holman, Chief of the U.S. Army's House Liaison Division in Washington, D. C. delivered the keynote speech. 

Holman earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics secondary education from Alcorn in 1992. His commands include the 555th Engineer Brigade, 7th Infantry Division, 1s tU.S. Corps, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord to name a few.

Holman encouraged the new lieutenants to stand tall in the midst of others who attended bigger schools. He assured them of the foundation that Alcorn has provided for their future.

“The training you received here at Alcorn State University has given you the foundation you need to lead soldiers,” said Holman. “You must build on that foundation throughout your career. You have to walk into your basic course with other lieutenants from bigger schools that your soldiers deserve a great leader.” 

In their new capacities, the second lieutenants will have their own group of soldiers to lead. Holman gave them advice on how to be solid leaders.

“The enlisted men and woman that you lead, and the country you serve, deserve nothing less than your very best when you wear your uniform. Every soldier in your platoon will know your name when you arrive; it is your job to know theirs as well. Learn their hopes and dreams. Teach them the difference between making a mistake and having a lack of discipline. When they make mistakes, it is your job to coach them to be better.”

The commissioning ceremony was special for Fleming because due to certain circumstances, she was unable to be commissioned back in 2016. Reflecting on how far she has come makes her appreciate her promotion even more.

“It felt great knowing that all of my hard work finally paid off,” said Fleming. “Now I can focus on the task at hand, which is more training and serving my country.”

Gurtowski is confident in the preparation he received during his time at Alcorn. He looks forward to applying his training to his field.

“I am very thankful to the Alcorn cadre and cadets who took me into the program and helped me to accomplish this childhood dream,” said Gurtowski. “From what I learned through the ROTC program, I feel prepared and trained for the rigorous responsibilities that I will have as an officer in the U. S. Army.”