“Since the College’s founding in 1775, Hampden-Sydney men have answered the call to serve our country in times of war and peace,” says ROTC Advisor Lieutenant Colonel Rucker Snead ’81. This year, over 30 Hampden-Sydney students participated in H-SC’s Army ROTC program, which was established in 1979 as part of the Spider Battalion based at the University of Richmond.
ROTC is an elective program that educates and prepares highly talented students to become military officers through academics and hands-on activities designed to develop a student’s leadership potential. H-SC cadets have to successfully complete the same training as a West Point cadet.
According to Snead, “Typically a commissioning ceremony includes three parts. First, the cadet takes his oath of office. Next, he receives his new rank as a second lieutenant, which is pinned on by a loved one. Finally, he receives his first salute from an enlisted soldier—typically from a non-commissioned officer who trained him—which represents his change in status.”
This year’s virtual ceremony, however, necessitated a change in procedure. “We ended up taking the oath of office together as the Spider Battalion the day before we each commissioned in-person,” explains Lieutenant Thomas Gorman ’20. “It was really special to see all my friends from H-SC raise their right hands and take the oath alongside me.”