Before taking the oath of office to become 2nd Lieutenants in the U.S. Army, the 11 cadets in EWU’s ROTC Class of 2017 heard from one of the Army’s most decorated and respected Generals.
“Are you ready,” three-star General (LTG) Gary Volesky ’83 repeatedly asked the cadets as he returned to his alma mater and delivered the keynote speech on Friday, June 16, in historic Showalter Auditorium.
“I just want to tell you I’m really proud of you,” Volesky told the cohort. “You represent the less than 1 percent of our nation that has volunteered to serve in something bigger than yourselves, with a mission to protect our freedom and our way of life.”
Volesky calls himself “just a soldier,” but his distinguished military career has taken him to every corner of the world. He’s now back close to home as the commander of I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), near Tacoma. He also commanded the 101st Airborne Division, served as the operational commander of U.S. ground forces in Liberia (2014) and in Iraq (2015), and has received the Silver Star and Purple Heart for service in the Gulf War, Iraq War and in Afghanistan.
During his address Volesky shared a few combat stories to give the cadets an example of how their training, character and leadership will be crucial to the Army’s mission. And he challenged them by asking, “Are you ready to become an expert of your profession?”
The cadets were encouraged to be great team builders, and Volesky expressed no doubts they will represent their country – and Eastern – well.
“You will be superb officers making a difference every day for your soldiers and our nation. And I just hope I get the opportunity to serve with each of you,” he said.