South Carolina State University’s Army ROTC Department hosted its Spring 2021 Commissioning Ceremony on Thursday, May 6, in the SC State Fine Arts Auditorium.
It was an intimate experience for the commissioned officers, as their parents or designees had the opportunity to pin their children and share the celebratory moment with them on stage. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event was limited to only a few family members, but was also streamed on Facebook for family and friends who could not attend.
Retired Maj. Gen. Abraham J. Turner, an SC State alumnus, served as the speaker for the event. He encouraged the new officers to never forget the responsibility that their positions hold.
“You can’t worry about what anybody before you brought to the table, you have to be concerned about what you will bring to the table. And the table is an army comprised of thousands and thousands of young men, women and family members who will look to you for guidance. What you must bring to the table is commitment. You have to bring a sense of loyalty, dignity and respect, and you’ve got to bring a sense of what’s expected of you,” Turner said.
Ten Bulldog Battalion cadets from SC State and Claflin University were commissioned into the U.S. Army as 2nd lieutenants. The cadets from SC State are Kareem Hinds, Jennifer Jeffcoat, Shaneque McCoy, Cane Primus, Ta ‘Myiah Reed, Dazzlin Thompson and Thomas Thompson. The cadets from Claflin University are Tyrei Boatwright, Daniel Elmore Jr. and Marquel Sanders.
“I had no intentions of joining the service, but my brother was also in the Bulldog Battalion,” said 2nd Lt. Quartermaster officer Thomas Thompson. “He’s a commissioned officer getting ready to be pinned captain in 2022. His success in the Bulldog Battalion and at South Carolina State University inspired me to join ROTC.
"Once I joined, I was thriving so well and got so many opportunities from it, I just decided to go ahead and pursue my commissioning,”
Thomas, 21, received his bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering. He will attend the Basic Officer Leaders Course (BOLC) in Fort Lee, Virginia, before reporting to Fort Hood in Texas to assume his position as a 1st Cavalry platoon leader.
2nd Lt. Quartermaster officer Jennifer Jeffcoat, 23, also received her bachelor’s in nuclear engineering and will be pursuing a career as a platoon leader.
“I had a very great time here at South Carolina State University," she said. "It’s a very tight-knit community here. The professors are always there for you when you need them, to make sure you check every box so you can graduate and reach all your goals that you want to accomplish no matter what the obstacle is,” Jeffcoat said.
Jeffcoat will report to BOLC in Fort Lee, Virginia, to receive training, then she will be stationed at Fort Bliss in Texas. After becoming a platoon leader, Jeffcoat plans to earn her master’s degree in physics, while progressing through the ranks in the Army.
2nd Lt. Daniel Elmore Jr., 21, is a graduate from Claflin University who received his bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry. He expressed how getting an education from Claflin while also attending the ROTC program at SC State afforded him many opportunities.
“The Bulldog Battalion has opened up many opportunities for me. The Bulldog Battalion is like a family. You meet people from across the United States and you all come together because at the end, you want the people who you look at in your MS1 class, to the left and right of you, you want to see those same people when you become an MS4 and a commissioning officer,” Elmore said.