Dauntless Battalion Commissions New Army Officers: “They Led by Example”

Mary Allen, Director of Communications
Cadets and ROTC officers seated on the Widener football field for commissioning ceremony
Major Gen. John H. Phillips addresses the cadets at their commissioning ceremony.

The Army ROTC program based at Widener University celebrated the momentous achievements of 19 cadets this week as they swore their military oath of commission and assumed new roles as Army officers. The in-person commissioning ceremony held at Leslie C. Quick Jr. Stadium on the Widener campus was livestreamed to well-wishers around the world. Guests erupted in cheers as the cadets were announced as second lieutenants. 

Three Widener University students were among the cadets commissioned. The group of 19 hailed from four area universities and all trained through the Dauntless Battalion unit at Widener, where they engaged in the hands-on, intense military training that has prepared them for successful careers. Family members pinned the new rank to their dress uniforms, and each officer shared a silver dollar with the individual they selected to give them their first salute – a military tradition.

The three officers who earned their undergraduate degrees from Widener last week, and the military careers for which they prepared, included:

  • Giovanni Dominic Gismondi, bachelor of science in management (cum laude), headed to infantry.
  • Andrew William Iford, bachelor of science in mechanical engineering, headed to infantry.
  • Sarah Elise Moore, bachelor of science in mechanical engineering, headed to the Corps of Engineers.
Individual photos of three ROTC cadets standing at attention, compiled into one collage image
From left, Second Lieutenants Giovanni Gismondi, Sarah Moore and Andrew Iford.

The class heard from Major Gen. John H. Phillips, commanding general of the 335th Signal Command, who summed up his leadership philosophy with four “Cs.” 

Competence: “Continue to improve on the education that is now the foundation, the first layer of strength in your military career.”

Commitment: “You take an oath to the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That is a living document that holds together the values of this country.”

Character: “You are entering into a job where America is placing its most trusted resource with you – its youth. And you have to have the character to lead them.”

Caring: “Your troops don’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care.”

The class also heard from Lt. Col. David Gunther, who leads the ROTC program at Widener. He said the new officers were the epitome of what it means to be “dauntless.” 

“In the face of a life-changing pandemic they displayed all the attributes and competency that are essential to not only being an Army officer, but to being a leader who is going to be given the responsibility of leading America’s most precious resource, America’s sons and daughters,” Gunther said. “Despite the challenges of COVID they lived by the Army values day in and day out. They showed what it means to be resilient. They displayed an incredible amount of mental agility and most importantly they led by example.” 

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