CWU News

CWU cadets climb cliff to complete contracts

A dramatic sunrise was the backdrop for 15 United States Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) students from CWU who took the Oath of Enlistment this morning, during a ceremony atop Manastash Ridge.

The oath was administered by Colonel Jon Tussing, the commander of the US Army Cadet Command’s 8th Brigade, headquartered at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma. This is the second consecutive year he has participated in the contract-signing ceremony.

“This was something that made an impact on me, the way the program does it here,” acknowledged Tussing. “I shared it with all the other programs and the commander of cadet command. There are similar events and a lot of different ways that you can do this ceremony, but the way they highlight it here at Central is very special and significant. It was great that I was able to be out here and see this and be a part of it.”

During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Jonathan Ackiss, the CWU battalion commander, told those taking the oath, and their fellow cadet sponsors, that this will be a day they will long remember.

“Sometimes, we have to measure success in smiles,” added Ackiss, “and to see you coming together as a team and smiling today means we’re doing something right.”

All of the participating cadets, along with Tussing, Ackiss, and the other CWU detachment officers, made the steep two-mile hike for the sunrise ceremony, to the top of the ridge at a memorial point, about 2,800 feet in elevation.

“This hike was really just an embodiment of our battalion’s spirit—it’s a part of our identity,” pointed out Justin Lester, from Chewelah, who was among those completing a cadet contract today. “When we become officers, we have to set a standard for our soldiers. Part of that is creating an environment that we can all foster into a family because that’s how we can operate to the best of our abilities.”

While enrolling in the Army ROTC Basic Course does not involve a military commitment, the ceremony was for the formal induction of the Army ROTC students into the program. It will include a scholarship for the students in exchange for an agreement to complete a service term with the Army.

“Contracting is a lot of weight, but it’s liberating at the same time,” Lester continued. “It’s being a part of the family.”

The CWU Army ROTC program, called the “Wildcat Battalion,” in honor of the university's mascot, has been nationally ranked in recent years. It is among 30 Army ROTC 8th brigade programs in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, California, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam, and 275 across the United States.

Media contact:Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, 509-963-1487,