A crowd of Edinboro University administrators, faculty, staff and students and veterans of the United States Armed Forces celebrated the bittersweet but time-honored tradition of changing command of the Fighting Scots Battalion ROTC program on July 19.
Lieutenant Colonel Marc Beckage, outgoing commander of the battalion and Professor of Military Science, passed the official Edinboro ROTC flag to Major Benjamin E. Kavanagh during an outdoor ceremony at the Hendricks Hall ROTC annex on EU’s main campus.
“The cadets and future officers we produce are my number-one priority, and my team is fully committed to ensuring each cadet is afforded the opportunities needed to earn their gold bars,” said Kavanagh, who arrives in Edinboro after serving as the Officer in Charge of the 517th Geospatial Planning Cell as part of U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) in Vicenza, Italy.
Kavanagh, who received his commission in the Army Corps of Engineers through the Pennsylvania State University ROTC program in 2002, was joined by his wife, Emily, and his two sons, Owen and Daniel.
Dr. H. Fred Walker, President of Edinboro University and a 9-year veteran of the United States Navy, provided remarks on behalf of Edinboro University. He expressed the integral role that the ROTC has played at EU since its inception in 1973.
“I have a deep respect for the individuals who put our country and the protection of our republic higher than their own sense of self,” said Walker, who worked as a technician, work center supervisor, program manager and database administrator with the Navy. “Each cadet demonstrates the courage, integrity and self-confidence that come along with the physical stamina, which are almost second nature to those who put on an ROTC uniform.”
In addition to passing the ROTC colors to Kavanagh, Walker welcomed Master Sergeant Mark Kirchoff, senior Military Science instructor, and Robert W. Parker III, incoming assistant professor of Military Science, to the Fighting Scots Battalion and thanked Master Sergeant Corey Oliver, departing senior Military Science instructor, for his service.
Beckage finishes his career at Edinboro University after four years at the command post. When he arrived for the Fall 2013 semester, he inherited an ROTC population of 150 students – the largest in EU’s history. Under his leadership, the ROTC program added a SCUBA certification to the curriculum and earned a Top 10 in the Northeast Region in the competitive Army 10-Miler, the second-largest 10-mile race in the United States.
“This tradition will continue after today, as we welcome the new cadre and their families,” said Beckage, who expressed confidence in Kavanagh and the incoming administration for the Fighting Scots Battalion. “Everyone involved in this process recognizes your selflessness, and we loyally stand by your side as you take on the responsibility.”
The Edinboro University Fighting Scots Battalion provides a minor in Adaptive Leadership and Military Operations to both undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing their degrees. More than 70 percent of the commissioned Second Lieutenants enter active duty in the United States Army following their graduation. EU offers the ROTC program in affiliation with Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa.
For more information about the ROTC program at EU, visit www.edinboro.edu/ROTC.
Photo caption: Edinboro University ROTC leaders pass the traditional Fighting Scots Battalion colors to the incoming administration. Participating in the ceremony was Master Sergeant Corey Oliver, Master Sergeant Mark Kirchoff, Lieutenant Colonel Marc Beckage, Major Benjamin E. Kavanagh and EU President Dr. H. Fred Walker.