As Americans paused on Sunday to honor veterans and remember those who have served our nation, the Royal Warrior Battalion was busy doing its part to support events across the community. For the cadets of the Royal Warrior Battalion, the Veterans Day celebration kicked off when the Military Science Department and the Communications Department came together to sponsor a screening of the documentary film "Veterans Day – 11.11.11" on Nov. 8. The film was produced and released by Loyola University of Chicago and examines the lives of several veterans who rendered service in various conflicts throughout the nation’s history.
"The documentary, Veterans Day 11-11-11, was truly a moving and eye opening film," said military science level II cadet Kelly Tracy. "The film touched on the lives of several different veterans across the nation, along with how certain people and towns remember all of those who have, and are currently serving, our country. It is was an amazing documentary and I think everyone should take time to watch this film. To many, Veterans Day is nothing more than a day off from school. I believe this film can really impact the mindset many Americans have on the veterans' holiday."
Joining cadets and communications students for this event were Brian Conniff, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as Reverend K. Fredrick Mauger, a good friend of the Royal Warrior Battalion and a retired major general and veteran of both World War II and Korea. Following the film, Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Remley, professor of military science, and Master Sergeant Roland Cuellar, senior military instructor, presented Kim Pavlik, Ph.D., of the Communications Department with a Royal Warrior Battalion Certificate of Appreciation for her hard work and efforts in bring the event together.
On Nov. 9, the battalion provided a color guard in support of The University of Scranton Veterans Association luncheon. In addition to posting the colors, the battalion reached out to one of its own as Mike Noonan '93, a University of Scranton commissionee, served as the event’s guest speaker. A former captain in the Army Reserved who deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Noonan now serves as director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s program on national security. Noonan is a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies and a fellow of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society. In addition to the cadet color guard detail, several other cadets and cadre joined veterans from across The University of Scranton community at the luncheon to mark the start of the holiday weekend.
Earlier on Friday, the Royal Warriors conducted a battalion run at Nay Aug Park for physical training. It was a chance for the unit to come together and proudly display their colors, call cadence, as well as build and promote esprit de corps over the course of the three-mile run. Following the run, Lieutenant Colonel Remley administered the contracting oath to five members of the battalion, including Tracy and Leonardo Fernandez, University of Scranton military science level II cadets who recently earned three-year, campus-based Army ROTC scholarships.
On Sunday morning, the battalion’s color guard, along with Major Kris Thompson, the battalion’s executive officer, and Master Sergeant Roland Cuellar, senior military instructor, travelled to New York City to take part in the city’s annual Veterans Day parade. The color guard was under the command of the military science level IV cadet Hope Oliver, cadet battalion color sergeant, as it followed the parade route through the city streets.
“This weekend was a great experience where I got the opportunity to be around so many great veterans," recalled Oliver. "I felt honored to be in their presence and I hope one day I can make them proud.”
Meanwhile military science level II cadet Ryan Caviston, a color guard member, shared the following, “Having the opportunity to honor America's greatest heroes on such a grand scale is a memory I will carry with me through the rest of my life. These men and women are the reason why we are still free today and I am humbled to have had an opportunity to thank them for it."
Finally, cadet Neil Jayakar, also an military science II cadet, explained, “Being in front of such a huge crowd while holding the national colors was like no other task I had previously been assigned. As we took our last turn, I finally felt the relief of no longer being on national television, as well as knowing the cadets and cadre had represented The University of Scranton well."
With Master Sergeant Roland Cuellar (right) looking on, Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Remley (left) presents Kim Pavlick, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication, with a battalion certificate of achievement for helping organize the screening of the documentary film "Veterans Day – 11.11.11."