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ROTC Celebrates Pass in Review

This Year’s Event Runs Smoothly, Fails to Draw Expected Protests

By Vicky Hsu

STAFF REPORTER

The annual MIT Reserve Officer Training Corps Tri-service Presidential Pass in Review took place at Berry Field on Friday afternoon.

“This is one of the best conducted ceremonies I have ever attended,” said retired U.S. Army Major Robert Winterhalter. Winterhalter praised “the discipline of the troops, the exactness of the communication between officers and staff, and the precision of the maneuvers.”

The pass in review is a long-standing military tradition that began as a way for a newly assigned commander to inspect his troops. Visiting officers and guest speakers are also invited to review the troops.

“Each [military branch] hosts a lot of individual events. The tri-service ceremony brings all the services together as a military,” said Melanie S. Woo ’03, an Air Force ROTC cadet.

The guest speaker at this year’s pass in review was retired U.S Army Lieutenant General James Terry Scott, who gave a short speech on the field to commend and encourage the troops.

The ceremony went smoothly, with no materialization of a threatened protest, which came as a surprise to the officers.

“Protesters come every year. They have every right to be here, just as we do,” said Captain Dave Diaz, Marine officer instructor for the Naval ROTC unit. “Last year, the protesters were very polite and the level of professionalism that they maintained was very noteworthy. This year we were expecting a bigger crowd because of the International Fair so close by.”

Guests come to watch review

Special guests from the military, family, and friends filled the bleachers as ROTC cadets and midshipmen from MIT, Harvard, Tufts, and Wellesley marched in formation around Berry Field and performed a series of maneuvers following the orders of their battalion and wing commanders.

“It’s good for the parents to see what their sons and daughters have been working for,” said Carrie Garceau ’03.

Spectators came from as close as Harvard and as far away as Puerto Rico to show their support for the cadets and midshipmen.

Although the ceremony itself usually lasts only an hour, it is a highly valued tradition among all those in attendance.

“It is important to uphold this tradition so that we may honor the people that came before us. This is a proud legacy of long lines of military officers and the many regiments that marched before us,” said Ryan K. Owen ’03, an Air Force ROTC cadet.

In preparation for the pass in review, ROTC participants from all four schools gathered for additional training throughout the past week.

Ceremony reflects dedication

Many were thoroughly impressed and pleased with the troop’s performance.

“I am a great believer in ROTC and the values that it teaches, military values that remain with people all of their lives. [ROTC] places [the participants] one step ahead of all those they serve,” said Winterhalter.

“These undergraduates do everything that all the other undergraduates do, plus 20 more hours of training and academics. This takes unparalleled dedication and commitment,” Diaz said.

After the pass in review, an awards banquet and ceremony was conducted in Kresge Auditorium. Medals and plaques of recognition were given out to cadets and midshipmen that have shown outstanding performance in various areas of military and academic discipline.