Spring grads commissioned as officers

Demon Battalion recognizes cadet accomplishments
By Leah Jackson

Northwestern State University’s Department of Military Science hosted a commissioning ceremony for graduates of the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) Friday. The cadets, who earned degrees during commencement ceremonies, were commissioned as second lieutenants and will leave the university to begin their military careers.

New officers are 2nd Lt. Laura-Rose Porter of Zwolle and 2nd Lt. Donnette Stokes of Carencro.

Porter joined the Demon Battalion in 2014. She graduated with a degree in history with a minor in military science. She was a member of the River Campus Ministry involved with the Fun, Outreach, Relationship and Teaching (FORT) program and Phi Alpha Theta history honor society. Porter completed ROTC’s Leadership Training Course, the Cadet Leader Course and the Cadet Troop Leader Training Program. She participated in the Demon Battalion’s Ranger Challenge Team and earned a two-year Cadet Initial Entry Training Scholarship. Porter also served as the Battalion’s Command Sergeant Major and Adjutant. She has been assessed Aviation Corps and will complete the Basic Officers Leaders Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Stokes joined the Demon Battalion in 2012 and earned a campus-based three-year ROTC scholarship at the end of her freshman year. With an overall grade point average of 3.8, Stokes graduated magna cum laude with a degree in liberal arts with a concentration in foreign languages. She participated in Ranger Challenge three of her four years in the ROTC program and served as Battalion Adjutant during the fall of her senior year prior to serving as the Battalion Commander. Stokes has been assessed Active Duty Transportation Corps. After completing her Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Lee, Virginia, she will be stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Cadet Keshira McKnight of Natchitoches was unable to participate in the commissioning ceremony in order to compete in the Southland Conference Track and Field Championships. She was one of nine student-athletes who received her diploma May 1 due to competition commitments. McKnight graduated with a degree in psychology. She enrolled at NSU on a track and field scholarship and joined the Demon Battalion in 2014. Excelling in leadership positions, she earned a two-year ROTC scholarship at Cadet Initial Entry Training. McKnight’s military training includes the Leader’s Training Course and the Cadet Leader’s Course. She served as the Battalion Intelligence Officer as well as the Battalion Command Sergeant Major throughout her senior year. McKnight has been assessed National Guard Military Police. After completing Basic Officer Leadership Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, she will be stationed in Minden.

Col. Carlene A.S. Blanding, commander for Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital and the Joint Readiness Training Center Surgeon at Fort Polk, was guest speaker.