This is a story that involves four members of the same family, four Americans proudly serving their country in the military.
There’s William H. Gill Jr., a World War II veteran.
There’s William Gill III, a Navy pilot who served from 1981-2001.
There’s William Gill III’s sons William Gill IV, an active National Guardsman, and David Gill.
Friday morning, David Gill, a cadet with the University of Central Oklahoma’s Broncho Battalion ROTC unit, was commissioned along with eight other cadets as a 2nd lieutenant during a ceremony in the Nigh University Center.
William Gill III said he is very proud of both of his sons who both will be in the medical corps. They are both intelligent and have common sense, he said, and he thinks the Army will be pleased with their conduct and service.
“Mom and dad are just tickled to death,” he said. “We really appreciate and love our country. We look forward to our sons serving.”
Debbie Gill said it was special to have both of her sons in the military. Her family’s military service includes her father, who served in the Army for 20-plus years during the Korea and Vietnam eras.
“I’m proud of them,” she said, adding that her pride extends to their obtaining college degrees. “They’ve got a good chance of really making something of themselves.”
Guest speaker was Col. Bridget Rourke, who served in Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, as the division intelligence planner in Korea and in other leadership roles.
As the cadets reached a milestone in their military career they embarked on a different journey. Rourke offered them some words of wisdom. She said it was an “incredibly important” day in their lives and the presence of their loved ones honored them.
“The Army has an expression, and that expression is ‘mission, men and me,’” Rourke said. “So with the award of your commission, this phrase now represents your priorities, because to who much is given much is expected.”
The ceremony was for celebrating their acceptance into the U.S. Army’s officer corps, a goal for which many strive, but few achieve, Rourke said. It was for recognizing their dedication to Army values of leadership, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage, she said.
Rourke said the Army will expect the new officers to deploy, perhaps in support of peace-keeping operations in the Sinai, peace enforcement on the Korean peninsula, nation building in Africa or South America, humanitarian operations anywhere in the world or combat in Afghanistan.
The Army will expect the new officers to always work on self improvement and to always prepare for that next level of leadership, Rourke said.
“Your soldiers and your country deserve nothing less,” she said.
The new officers from the Broncho Battalion are:
• 2nd Lt. Rashawn Copeland, son of Renea and Rodney Copeland, played football for UCO. He recently branched medical service in the Army Reserves, where he has been a Simultaneous Membership Program cadet for the past year.
• 2nd Lt. David Gill is married to Michelle Gill. He has branched active duty in the medical service corps.
• 2nd Lt. Chris Maksimowski, son of Greg and Chrisha Maksimowski, is married to Megan. After joining Broncho Battalion he served in the Simultaneous Membership Program in the Oklahoma National Guard. He hopes to get an active duty position in the ordnance corps upon leaving the Broncho Battalion.
• 2nd Lt. Michaelah McAnelly lives with her husband Austin in Moore. She followed in the footsteps of her mother and sister in pursuing a career as an Army nurse. She is awaiting her active duty assignment in the Army nurse corps.
• 2nd Lt. Jacob Scraper, son of Robert and Kim Scraper, is obtaining a degree in industrial safety from UCO. He has branched infantry in the National Guard.
• 2nd Lt. Kyle Stafford, son of Joe and Diana Stafford, has a fiancé Kayla. He has been involved in numerous UCO organizations. After leaving the Broncho Battalion, he will report to active duty at Fort Sill to begin his career in artillery.
• 2nd Lt. Kody Thomas, son of Kevin and Sally Thomas, played football at the University of Tulsa and Southern Nazarene University, where he met his wife Kimberlee. He has branched active duty military police.
• 2nd Lt. Natasha Umemoto, daughter of Bobo and Galene Umemoto, is graduating from Oklahoma City University with a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology and exercise science. She recently branched active duty air defense artillery and will be stationed at Fort Sill.
• 2nd Lt. Reginald Woods, son of Reginald Van Woods Sr. and Deborah Knightl, was a Simultaneous Membership Program cadet with the Oklahoma National Guard. He recently branched transportation in the Oklahoma National Guard.
For more information about UCO’s Broncho Battalion, visit www.BronchoStrong.com.
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