Island University Celebrates Commissioning of Two ROTC Cadets

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Islander Army ROTC at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi celebrated the commissioning of two new second lieutenants on Dec. 13, at a ceremony in University Center. This ceremony marks the transition of graduating ROTC students from cadets to officers and includes pinning of lieutenants’ bars by the soldiers’ loved ones as well as the Silver Dollar Salute. 

Cadets Vincent Lising, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences, and Zachary Rojas, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, were commissioned at the event.

Lising, who was born in Honolulu but raised in San Antonio, has been branched Medical Services and will be reporting to Ft. Sam Houston to attend the Army Medical Department Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC). Lising received his gold bars from his parents, Larry and Videnia Lising.

“At the Island University, ROTC is a program where cadets are not just a number,” Lising said. “Our size allows us to create a good relationship with our cadre.” 

Born in El Paso, Rojas was raised in San Antonio and enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard in high school. He served as a combat medic for four years and took part in humanitarian relief efforts during Hurricane Harvey. Rojas received his gold bars from his wife, Lauren, and father, Frank Rojas Jr. Rojas has been branched Nursing and will report to Ft. Sam Houston to attend BOLC-B. The first in his family to serve in the military, Rojas said his interest in nursing led him to enroll at the Island University.

“I saw that Texas A&M-Corpus Christi had a really awesome nursing program that was super well-thought-of, so I moved here with my high-school sweetheart,” Rojas said. “I made some great friends in ROTC; I really enjoyed going to the military ball and saying goodbye to friends who were graduating that year and thinking, ‘It’s my turn next year.’” 

Guest speaker BG Ronald “Win” Burkett, Assistant Deputy Commander-Operations of the 36th Infantry Division at Camp Mabry in Austin, shared advice gleaned from his military career, which began in 1989 and includes five deployments.

Burkett offered four “hacks” to Lising and Rojas:

  • Be a good listener by listening to understand
  • Communicate in a plural sense and to think in terms of the team
  • A lieutenant cannot assume risk for his commander
  • Have something to say

“It’s an honor to wear this uniform today because I’m wearing it with you; this is a great team.,” said Burkett. “Take charge, take care of your soldiers, it’s all about leadership.”