ETSU ROTC commissions graduates as second lieutenants in U.S. Army

Published 5:11 pm Monday, May 17, 2021

Ceremony available to stream online

JOHNSON CITY – Twelve cadets in the Army ROTC Program at East Tennessee State University have taken the oath of office and were commissioned as second lieutenants. The new officers will serve in various branches of the United States Army.
Maj. Gen. Leslie A. Purser, whose résumé includes service as special assistant to the assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs in Washington, D.C., addressed commissioners at the ceremony, held May 7 and available to view on the ETSU Army ROTC Facebook page at facebook.com/etsurotc.
In addition to the pinning of the bars, commissioners took part in the “Silver Dollar Tradition” by presenting a silver dollar to the first enlisted soldier to salute him or her.

 The 12 graduating members of the Buccaneer Battalion join the ranks of more than 1,500 cadets to be commissioned at ETSU since the ROTC Program began in 1953.

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 Those who commissioned as second lieutenants are:

 Zachary Branham of Gray, served as battalion S2, also holding ranks of cadet first sergeant and cadet platoon leader. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology and received his U.S. Army commissioning as second lieutenant as a military intelligence officer in the Army National Guard. Upon completion of the Military Intelligence Basic Course, 2nd Lt. Branham will be assigned to the Engineer squadron in the 278th ACR as a military intelligence officer. He is the son of Michael and Nancy Branham.

 Brianna Brown of Nolensville, served as battalion S2/S5 and company executive officer. She has earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in psychology, and received her United States Army commission as a second lieutenant in military intelligence. Upon completion of Military Intelligence Officer Basic Course, 2nd Lt. Brown will be assigned to the 345 MI Battalion CO C (CI), Fort Gillem, Georgia. She is the daughter of Eric and Angela Brown.

 Joseph A. Carey of Richlands, Virginia, earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and criminology. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the military intelligence branch as an active-duty officer. Upon graduation, he and his wife and children will be stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado.

 Tristen Tyler Castillo of San Antonio, Texas, served as battalion operations officer and held the rank of cadet major in the Buccaneer Battalion. Tristen has earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies concentrated in psychology and military science, and received his United States Army commission as a second lieutenant in the aviation corps. He is the son of Amy and Rick Castillo.

 Preston Connor England of Harrogate, served as second platoon leader in fall and Battalion S-3 in spring. He earned a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management and received his United States Army commission as a second lieutenant in the field artillery branch. He is the son of Terry and Shannon England.

 Levi C. Harmon of Flagstaff, Arizona, served as the ETSU company commander and operations officer and held the rank of cadet captain in the Buccaneer Battalion. Levi earned a bachelor’s degree in modern languages from Virginia Military Institute and a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from ETSU. He received his United States Army commission as a second lieutenant in the Infantry Branch. He is the son of Edward and Donna Harmon.

 Mark Daniel Holyfield, Jr. of Bristol, served as battalion S6 officer and held the rank of cadet captain in the Buccaneer Battalion. Mark earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and received his United States Army commission as a second lieutenant in the Medical Services Corps. Upon completion of the Medical Service Officer Basic Course, 2nd Lt. Holyfield will be assigned to the 442d Infantry Regiment 100th Battalion, Honolulu. He is the son of John and Natasha Snyder.

 Dylan Matthew Land of Huntersville, North Carolina, served as anchor company commander and held the rank of cadet captain in the Buccaneer Battalion. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the honors college and received his United States Army commission as a second lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps. Upon completion of the Ordnance Corps Officer Basic Course, 2nd Lt. Land will be assigned to the 626th Ordnance Company, Hickory, North Carolina. He is the son of Robert and Tara Land.

 Kamren Matthew Lewis of Atlanta, served as Asst. S3 and Battalion Executive Officer. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and received his United States Army commission as a second lieutenant in the Ordinance Corps/ EOD Select. Upon completion of the Ordinance Corps Officer Basic Course, 2nd Lt. Lewis will begin EOD school at Fort Lee, Virginia. He is the son of Donnie and Connie Lewis.

 Ayarys Pena of Cleveland, served as battalion Recruiting Officer and held the rank of cadet captain in the Buccaneer Battalion. She has earned a bachelor’s degree in media and communications with a concentration in radio/TV/film and received her United States Army commission as a second lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps. Upon completion of the Quartermaster Corps Officer Basic Course, 2nd Lt. Pena will be assigned to the 4 CAV BDE, Fort Knox, Kentucky. She is the daughter of Yenny Lorenzo and Edgar Pena.

 Joey Watson of Boone, North Carolina, served as the Battalion Commander and held the rank of cadet major in the Buccaneer Battalion. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and is receiving his United States Army commission as a second lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps. He is the son of Jamie and Pam Watson.

 Phillip Cameron Wilson of Athens, served as Company Executive Officer for Anchor Company and held the rank of cadet first lieutenant in the Buccaneer Battalion. He earned a bachelor’s degree in cross-disciplinary studies and received his United States Army commission as a second lieutenant in the Chaplain Corps as a chaplain candidate. Upon completion of the Chaplain Corps Officer Basic Branch Course, 2nd Lt. Wilson will be up for promotion to Chaplain in the Regular Army. He is the son of Timothy and Paige Wilson.

 In 2018, ETSU announced a partnership to support Army ROTC training for students at Emory & Henry College. EHC student William Wallace Davis of Wake Forest, North Carolina, also commissioned with members of the Buccaneer Battalion. He is the son of Elvin and Cindy Davis and served as the Battalion S-1 officer and EHC detachment commander.

 To learn more about ETSU Army ROTC, visit etsu.edu/rotc.