U.S. Army Cadet Command
The Army’s two newest officers share the distinction of having their commissioning Jan. 9 be the most attended of any this school year.
Stephen Moreno and Janice Davila also share something else: the pressure to be successful leaders of American soldiers.
Moreno, who graduated from nearby St. Mary University, and Davila, who graduated from the University of Texas-San Antonio, took their oaths of office on the Alamodome field from Gen. Martin Dempsey, commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.
Several thousand people watched the event as part of pre-game activities leading up to the 10th annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Moreno and Davila were to pin on their second lieutenant bars last month, but delayed the ceremonies so their commissioning could be done in front of a wider audience.
The two new officers said they were nervous and excited about the opportunity to become commissioned leaders in such a unique setting and surrounded by soldiers whom they might lead someday.
"It’s a great honor and amazing feeling knowing I’m going to serve in the Army," Moreno said. "Without combat experience, I’m expected to be in charge. There’s a lot of pressure, but I’m prepared."
Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, U.S. Army Accessions Command commander, while congratulating Moreno, leaned into the microphone and spoke of his expectations.
"Now the hard part begins," he said. "Don’t let me down."
Moreno branched infantry. After training at Fort Benning, Ga., he will be stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Davila, who branched into the Signal Corps, doesn’t attend her initial training until next year.
Commissioned in the U.S. Army Reserve, she will be assigned to the 228th Combat Support Hospital in San Antonio, her hometown.
Meanwhile, the biology major plans to find a job in the scientific research field.
She said ROTC shaped her personally and professionally, transforming her from a shy person to one who is more outgoing.
"She’s a strong performer and a good leader," Lt. Col. Dan Mishket, the professor of military science at the University of Texas-San Antonio, said.
Adding, "This is a great opportunity to showcase ROTC as a whole … the superb opportunity to serve and the great cadets coming out of UTSA."
Pinning on Davila’s gold bars were her mother and younger brother. Her older brother is a first lieutenant stationed in Korea and was unable to attend the commissioning.
Davila phoned him Saturday morning, just hours before the event. His message to his sister: "I’m happy for you; now go do your job."
"People are depending on me to lead," she said. "I’m ready."