Eighteen recent University of North Georgia graduates who are newly commissioned second lieutenants took their military oath in front of a national audience on Friday.
U.S. Army Cadet Command livestreamed the national commissioning ceremony Facebook Live, YouTube Live and on all USACC social media platforms.
Greg Killeen, recruiting operations officer in the Department of Military Science at UNG, said the live event would highlight the Army's resilience, inspire a sense of national unity and promote hope displayed through the next generation of the nation's military leaders.
"From the national perspective, it tells our citizens that they can have faith in our Army," said Killeen, a retired Army major who has worked at UNG since 2007. "We are still conducting business and securing the nation."
Selected cadets from 4th ROTC Brigade's National Capital Region will participate in person at the Pentagon while more than 1,000 cadets across the country participate online, including 18 from UNG. 2nd Lt. John Perry IV, a Distinguished Military Graduate who earned a degree in a strategic and security studies in May, will represent UNG in the ceremony from the Brooks Pennington Jr. Military Leadership Center on UNG's Dahlonega Campus.
"It's a great honor to have been selected," he said. "I am very humbled. I think it's going to be a great experience."
The 21-year-old from Dawsonville, Georgia, was one of the 72 members of the Corps of Cadets who commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army in May. The military tradition followed social distancing guidelines because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which limited the number of guests at UNG.
2nd Lt. Micaela Tierce commissioned from her hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She said it allowed her relatives who are considered "at-risk" to watch her commission.
Others, such as 2nd Lt. Micaela Tierce, commissioned from their homes. The native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, said it allowed her relatives who are considered "at-risk" to watch her commission.
"It showed how UNG and Cadet Command can be flexible and adaptive," said Tierce, who earned a degree in international affairs.
Now, she and the other recently commissioned second lieutenants can participate in the national ceremony from their homes as well. Battalions will simultaneously administer the oath of office during the ceremony.
2nd Lt. Sophie Song-Grant is excited about the experience.
"I think it's really special for us," said Song-Grant, who earned a degree in modern languages with a concentration in Chinese language and literature. "I appreciate how they recognize us nationally."
Killeen said the ceremony showed incoming freshmen and potential recruits that earning a degree and serving their country are possible, Killeen said.
"They can see that if John Perry from Dawson County can do this, they can too," he said. "He is one of their own and now he is going to join the Military Intelligence branch of the Army. It helps students envision themselves in that role."