ROTC’s 70th Anniversary Gala

Photo credit: Sydne Vigille 

Saturday evening brought about an annual gathering that the Rattler Battalion holds to memorialize years of rich history that past alumni and current students work hard to uphold.

Colonels, cadets, and a hosts of important guests filed in the Grand Ballroom to celebrate 70 formidable years of Florida A&M University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program.

Jacari White, Senior construction engineering technology student and Executive Officer of the FAMU Battalion, shared his sentiments on the event.

“We have our alumni members coming back. We have lieutenants, colonels, generals and hall-of-famers that are coming through for our military ball—the 70th anniversary.”  White continued, “This will be a classified as a formal military ball to commemorate all of the alumni that has come through and commissioned through the Rattler Battalion.”

The evening accommodated a list of important guests: Florida A&M’s 12th President Dr. Larry Robinson, the Dean of College of Social Sciences of Arts and Humanities Dr. Valencia Matthews, and one of the most important guest of the evening and the event’s keynote speaker, Colonel Michael McLendon.

Amongst the many gems Colonel McLendon left with those in attendance, he made sure to focus on the students’ pathway to the army and navigating their career through personal and professional strategies. McLendon’s speech focused on giving leadership strategies that he believed were pertinent to provide to potential military leaders. Some of his main points he conveyed was proper navigation through your career, preparation, hard work and going through some type of failure in your lifespan.

McLendon said, “Everyone is a potential resource regardless of their rank and their background.” He continued, “always remember that the effect you have on others is the most valuable courtesy there is.”

McLendon, the rest of the Rattler alumni, and current students did their best to display the level of prestige captured in the annual experience. It was apparent that the cadets in attendance did their best to array an environment of optimism for future anniversary celebrations.

Jordan Sealey, a fourth-year construction engineering technology student, the 18th Mr. FAMU, and the S5 for the battalion had this to say, “We pay homage to all those that have come through, those that have passed, those who are still here serving today and those that have retired.”

Sealey continued, “It’s a tradition. It’s a very rich history and we like to preserve each and every year and that’s why we’re here today.”

One of the more seasoned veterans, Colonel Cedric Carrington (C/O 1994), had nothing but heartening opinions to leave about his alma mater.

“Tonight’s  gala was a time that honored military tradition, our past and illuminates our future. Our nation is sure to be in great hands, based on my interactions with current cadets of the Rattler battalion.”