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December 7, 2012

ULM senior is one of the top cadets in the U.S.

University of Louisiana at Monroe senior Tyler Gahagan is one of the top cadets commissioning for academic year 2012-2013. Gahagan, a Monroe native, finished in the top 33 percent of all cadets in the continental United States.

Gahagan, a 23-year-old senior majoring in construction management, delivered a heartfelt speech following his commissioning ceremony today at ULM’s Student Union Building.

After being commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Gahagan said, “All of you have played a pivotal role in this moment. Mom, dad, grandparents, family, friends, and fellow cadets: I can't thank you enough for all of the support, honor, dignity and respect you've shown me, along with the lessons you’ve taught me. It means a lot to me that you showed up today. I know I have the support of my friends and family. I can't say ‘thank you’ enough.

Lieutenant Colonel La Daryl D. Franklin, a professor of Military Science and Battalion commander for the Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps Program at ULM, said, “Dr. Bruno and other senior members of the ULM administration, thank you for being here today … I expect Second Lieutenant Gahagan to do a lot of good things.”

According to Tim Connelly, instructor of military science at ULM, to be commissioned as a second lieutenant, a cadet must have a college degree, with most receiving their commission when they graduate. When cadets receives their commissions, they become Army officers.

“It’s a really big promotion,” said Connelly. “The newly appointed officer becomes an Army leader and begins a new career path as an officer. Officers are the ‘managers’ of the Army. Their rank structure starts at 2LT and goes to General. Of those serving in the military, about 80 percent serve as enlisted soldiers, privates, and Sergeant Majors. As a young leader, officers start with a lot of responsibility and normally serve as Platoon Leader, managing a group of about 30 soldiers.”

In an earlier interview, Gahagan, who will graduate with the fall 2012 class on Dec. 8, was asked to describe ULM in three words. He replied, "place for opportunity."

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