April 27, 2009 by Andi Murphy Round Up
Two F-16 fighter jet planes flew over NMSU Friday, to begin the 107th Pass in Review ROTC ceremony. The National Anthem was bellowed from trombones of the 62nd Army Band from Ft. Bliss, Texas.About 168 cadets of the NMSU Air Force and Army ROTC stood in attendance as their cadres and Interim President Waded Cruzado presided over them.
Pass in Review is an ancient military tradition dating back around 340 B.C. to the time of Alexander the Great, where a leader or president would look over his or her soldiers as they paraded past.
“It’s [about] honor,” said Ryan Walton, senior and Air Force cadet colonel. “It’s showcasing the troops.”
In attendance at Friday’s ceremony were Cruzado, Ken Miyagishima, mayor of Las Cruces, city council members and about 45 World War II veterans. Walton said the ceremony brought in more people than previous years.
Before the ceremony, the Arnold Air Society held a barbecue for veterans, many of whom brought their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Walton said most of the food was donated by Wal-Mart.
Students are attracted to join the Army and Air Force ROTC because they have a strong desire to serve their country, said Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Groll, who is also an NMSU professor of aerospace studies. When they join, they typically pick their career field and are later guaranteed an officer’s position in the service, he said.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” Groll said about his 18 years of experience in the Air Force.
Being in the military, whether the Army, Air Force or Navy, teaches one the aspects of discipline and teamwork, said Air Force Lt. Col. Rolf Mitchel, a World War II veteran in civil air patrol.
Originally born in Germany, Mitchel was shipped out in the 1940s and joined the U.S. Army. The Air Force didn’t start until 1947 and it was previously known as the Army Air Corps, Mitchel said. Although he was never in the ROTC, Mitchel likes to attend these events because it pleases him to see the young cadets march in the Pass in Review.
“I’m impressed because that’s our future,” Mitchel said, waving his hand in the direction of the 168 cadets.
The cadets marched simultaneously around the field at the Horseshoe, while the 62nd Army Band played a patriotic military tune. They marched past a tent housing President Cruzado, who stood in salute looking back at them.
Army Lt. Col. Brad Gavle said the Pass in Review went well, and he was very happy with the turn out.
Gavle announced he is taking a break from ROTC and the Army after 26 years of service. Since he was 19, Gavle has dedicated his services to the Army and will be succeeded by Andy Taylor in the NMSU Army ROTC program, he said.
Through the years in the Army, Gavle came up with what he calls the “Three Aggie Pillars” for his cadets. These pillars include academics, Army training and alumni community service.
If they keep up with those pillars, they can succeed in any endeavor, he said.
“It’s definitely a way of life,” Gavle said.