Five Dartmouth Graduates Receive Military Commissions

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Family members went on stage to pin the cadets with second lieutenant bars.

Dartmouth Military Commissioning ceremony
Family members pin the insignia of rank on their newly commissioned officers, from left, 2nd Lt. Charles Fenn ’22, 2nd Lt. Kristofer Hammon ’22, 2nd Lt. Ian Hou ’22, 2nd Lt. Logan Lukenda ’22, and 2nd Lt. Scott Ritter ’22. (Photo by Rob Strong ’04)

Clad in dress uniforms, five members of the Class of 2022 marched to center stage of Moore Theater Saturday to take the U.S. Army officer’s oath as second lieutenants in a commissioning ceremony rich in military, Dartmouth, and family history.

The five officers:

  • Charles S. Fenn ’22, a government major who was recognized as an Army ROTC distinguished military graduate, grew up in Houston. He will commission as an active-duty field artillery officer and attend the Field Artillery Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Sill, Okla.
  • Kristofer W. Hammon ’22, who majored in mathematics with a minor in Chinese language and an Army ROTC distinguished military graduate, is a native of Los Angeles. He will commission as an engineer officer and will attend the Engineer Basic Officer Leadership Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and will serve in the U.S. Army Reserve out of New Jersey.
  • Ian K. Hou ’22 enlisted in the Army Reserve shortly after high school. After completing advanced individual training as an intelligence analyst, he headed to Dartmouth, where the New Jersey native double-majored in computer science and Chinese language and was a member of the Army ROTC program. He will commission into the Army Reserve as a cyber operations officer, and as a civilian will be working as a software development engineer in New York City.
  • Logan Z. Lukenda ’22, a government major with a minor in Middle Eastern studies, grew up in Colts Neck, N.J. He will commission as a military intelligence officer and will report to the Military Intelligence Basic Officer Leadership Course at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., before serving in the New Jersey Army National Guard.
  • Scott Ritter ’22, an economics major with a minor in history who was recognized as an Army ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate, grew up in West Hartford, Conn. He will commission as an aviation officer and after graduation will attend Initial Entry Rotary Wing Training at Fort Rucker, Ala., and then fly helicopters with the Connecticut Army National Guard.

Professor of Government Lisa Baldez welcomed the cadets at the start of the ceremony, noting that her two sons are both Dartmouth graduates and her eldest, Joe Carey ’15, a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, received his officer commission during Dartmouth graduation weekend seven years ago.

Government professor Lisa Baldez
Government professor Lisa Baldez, whose son Capt. Joe Carey ’15 became a Marine Corps officer at his graduation, called herself a “Marine mom” as she thanked the families of the new officers. (Photo by Rob Strong ’04)

“I believe Dartmouth has also prepared you for military service by instilling in you intellectual curiosity and a love of learning,” Baldez said.

She pointed to Phil Klay ’05 , who commissioned into the Marines at his graduation, and was deployed in 2007 and 2008 in Anbar province in Iraq. Klay’s collection of short stories, Redeployment, won the National Book Award for fiction in 2014 and is featured on many literary lists of great war novels, she said.

“You wouldn’t think that being an English major would prepare you for war,” Baldez said. “But what Phil read helped him make sense of the experiences he had. When he returned he put the skills he developed at Dartmouth to use writing stories that translated those experiences of the war in a way that civilians could understand.”

And speaking as “a Marine mom,” Baldez lifted up the families of the new Army officers.

“I welcome you into the community of military families, to the cadets, I welcome you into the long and proud history of Dartmouth graduates who have served in the United States military.”

“I thank you for making this commitment to serving our country. Congratulations to each of you.”

Maj. Nicholas Spaulding, assistant professor of military science and an officer in the Dartmouth ROTC program , invited the families and friends of the cadets to stand with their cadet before calling “attention to orders” and administering the oath commissioning the five as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

Spaulding then called on the families of the new officers to pin the bars—the insignia of their new rank—on their shoulders, and he introduced the new second lieutenants to applause and cheers.

In final remarks, Col. Erik Fessenden, joint staff director of the New Hampshire Army National Guard, hailed the five commissioned Army officers, calling on them to uphold the highest ethical standards, defend America’s democracy, and to always respectfully engage with their community.

As commander of the New Hampshire National Guard and Reserve, he said he has heard from many, many soldiers that their deployment administering New Hampshire COVID-19 vaccination sites over the past two years, working for the public health of the community, was the most fulfilling work of their careers.

And Fessenden urged the new officers, no matter how high they rise in the ranks, to remember that their job is to serve.

“I would tell you as lieutenants, don’t get caught in all the pomp, don’t get caught up in the salutes, don’t get caught up as you walk into the room and people stand,” Fessenden said. “Remember to be a humble servant leader.”

The audience of students, family, friends, faculty, and administrators stood for the singing of the The Army Goes Rolling Along at the close of the proceedings. As the official Army song concluded, the graduates and officers greeted their guests and joined in hugs and photos.

Bill Platt