CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The Boston Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) consortium commissioned a Harvard midshipman at the Harvard Tercentenary Theater on Wednesday, 27 May.
Sebastian Raul Saldivar received a commission in the United States Armed Forces, along with three of his peers in the Army ROTC. A native of Grand Prairie, Texas, Ensign Saldivar graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Mathematics. He will report to Navy Nuclear Power School en route to serving as a Submarine Warfare Officer.
The ceremony’s guest speaker was Army General David G. Perkins, Commander, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command. Addressing the newly commissioned officers, he advised them that “the military wants leaders of competency and character. Long have you looked towards people of authority to evaluate you but now those that grade your ‘homework’ should be those whom you serve.” Leadership through taking care of your people was at the core of his remarks.
Harvard University President Drew G. Faust continued the address from the steps of Memorial Church, on whose walls are etched the names of over 1300 Harvard alumni who died in combat. “Harvard has placed a central role in America’s tradition — today we celebrate your part in that legacy. We honor you for honoring the tradition of national service that Harvard has so long embraced,” said Dr. Faust.
Four years ago, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus met with President Faust to sign an agreement that officially reestablished Harvard NROTC on March 4, 2011. Harvard was one of the first six colleges to establish ROTC beginning in 1926 along with the University of California, Berkeley; Northwestern University; University of Washington; Yale University; and Georgia Institute of Technology.
Seventeen Harvard graduates are Medal of Honor recipients, trailing only West Point and Annapolis. Notable alumni include Leonard Wood, leader of the Rough Riders, who became the only doctor that would rise to become Chief of Staff of the Army; Theodore Roosevelt, his fellow Rough Rider, winner of the Nobel peace Prize, and 26th President of the United States; and John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States who served on a Motor Torpedo Boat unit during World War II. Their legacies are indicative of the types of leaders that Harvard produces and serve as markers for the newly commissioned officers towards which to aspire.
“Commissioning is probably the best part of the year for us. It represents the end-goal of our work with these students over their four years in college.” said LT Stephen Smith, one of the NROTC instructors based at MIT. “I look forward to seeing what ENS Saldivar does in the fleet!”
The NROTC program, overseen by Rear Adm. Richard A. Brown, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, loyalty and Navy core values in order to commission college graduates as Naval officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the Naval service and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.
RADM Brown and NSTC oversee 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy. This includes the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at more than 160 colleges and universities, Officer Training Command on Naval Station Newport, R.I., Recruit Training Command, the Navy’s only boot camp, at Great Lakes, Ill., and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.
For more information about NROTC, visit https://www.nrotc.navy.mil/.
By Midshipman 1st Class Jimmy Castaño