Badges of Honor
Retired Col. Brett M. Clark had a long career of U.S. Army service, starting in 1984. Just prior to retirement, Clark was director and command inspector general for the military district of Washington at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. Currently, he is the senior Army instructor for the Spruce Creek High School JROTC Program in Port Orange, Florida, not far from Stetson’s DeLand campus.
During the Spring 2019 Commissioning Ceremony of Army ROTC Eagle Battalion on May 10 at Lee Chapel in Stetson’s Elizabeth Hall, his message as the guest speaker was clear: “You will now and forever be part of a special group of Americans. … We celebrate your willingness to serve and your desire to lead, but most importantly, your ability to share your uncommon heart of service. It is this very rare quality of having a heart of service that will sustain you in your chosen profession.”
Similarly, Retired Lt. Col. Oakland McCulloch, Stetson’s Army ROTC recruiting operations officer, was direct as he talked about duty above self.
“Enjoy today; today is all about you. But today is the last day about you. Once we pin these bars on your shoulder, it is no longer about you. It’s about your soldiers; it’s about mission your mission, your unit, the Army and this country,” McCulloch said.
Minutes later, four ROTC cadets, graduating students at Stetson, were commissioned as second lieutenants: Garrick Harbison, Malina Morales, Sarah Mullins and Alexander Reczek.
Harbison, who majored in environmental science and geography, will join the Air Defense Artillery branch and begin active duty by attending Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) training at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. In high school, Harbison was a four-year participant of Army JROTC and joined Army ROTC as a first-year student at Stetson. While at Stetson, he also was involved in the Skeet and Trap Club and the Hatters Down Under scuba club, and was a member of the Russian Honor Society (Dobro Slovo), among many other activities.
Morales will leave Stetson with degrees in psychology and digital arts. Her next assignment is with the Medical Services Corp. as a reservist. She joined Army ROTC in her sophomore year and attended CULP, a program through ROTC that enables cadets to better build leadership skills through travel. Also, she became actively involved in multiple campus organizations, involving cross-country running, music and the Ranger challenge, along with playing intramural soccer and studying abroad. She will begin her service by attending BOLC training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.
Mullins, a history major with an archeology focus, comes from a family of military commitment. She joined the Army ROTC as a first-year student at Daytona State College before attending Stetson on an Army scholarship. She then became part of the Simultaneous Membership Program, which enabled her to join the 143rd Sustainment Reserve Unit in Orlando, where she has participated and worked for three years and will continue to serve. She has been commissioned as a reservist with Medical Services Corp., with BOLC training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.
Reczek graduates from Stetson in the Honors Program, with a degree in environmental science and geography. In high school, he played lacrosse as a varsity captain, participated in a statewide mock government and won national awards for his various art pieces. At that time, he also became interested in the military, which ultimately led to joining the Army ROTC program later at Stetson. During his junior year on campus, he served as president of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and he spent his summers traveling abroad. Reczek has been assigned to Medical Services Corp., serving in active duty.
A memorable day.
McCulloch’s parting words to the new second lieutenants: “This is a day that you will always remember, no matter what age you live to be, or whether you serve eight years or 30 years.”