Five UVa-Wise graduates were commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the United States Army after finishing four years of hard work in the Army ROTC program.

Col. Kyle Redman, U.S. Army (Ret), administered the oath of office to Christopher Burnett, Endelkaachu Kinfemichael, William Law, Parker Pauley, and Seth Sheppard.

Burnette commissioned as an Adjutant General officer on active duty. He will report to Ft. Jackson, SC, in October. Kenfemichael commissioned as a Signal officer in the Army Reserve. Law commissioned as a QuarterMaster officer on active duty. He will report to Ft. Lee, Virginia, in May for training and will eventually report to Ft. Carson, Colorado. Pauley commissioned as a Chemical officer in the Kentucky National Guard. Sheppard commissioned as a Transportation officer in the Virginia National Guard.

Redman said the training these UVa-Wise students went through in ROTC was tough and demanding.

“In addition to their college majors, they have spent countless hours becoming proficient in leadership theory and management techniques, cultural awareness, and problem solving,” Redman said. “They have conquered all challenges put before them and they now stand before you, ready to accept the incredible responsibility of being an Army officer.”

Redman said the new officers would embark on an amazing journey.

“You are now a part of a warrior brotherhood,” he told them. “And at the end of your service, being able to call yourself a veteran is something you will always be proud of. The fact that you served in the military places you in a select group of less than one percent of the U.S. population. You have answered your nation’s call, and we are all grateful for your sacrifice.

Parents of the five men pinned rank bars of each officer, and the men received their first salute. The five gave the traditional silver dollar to a non-commissioned officer who gave them their first salute.

Photos by Earl Neikirk