NROTC San Diego Commissions 40 Ensigns and Second Lieutenants at Spring Commissioning Ceremony

NROTC San Diego Commissions 40 Ensigns and Second Lieutenants at Spring Commissioning Ceremony

Three NROTC San Diego midshipmen were recognized as the top graduates of the battalion.

On Thursday, May 23, the Jenny Craig Pavilion at the University of San Diego (USD) was filled with pride as 19 Ensigns and 21 Second Lieutenants were commissioned in a momentous ceremony. These new officers, representing the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, are embarking on their military careers, ready to lead and serve.

The commissioning ceremony recognized the achievements of a total of 40 graduates. Among the newly commissioned Ensigns from USD were ENS David Amano,
ENS Anthony Barbero, ENS Michael Gallagher, ENS Samuel Griffin, ENS Tim Jensen,
ENS Tamerat Mandanis,
ENS Christopher Mauhay,
ENS Taylor Morgan-Longo,
ENS Natalie Nguyen,
ENS Katheryn Stephens and ENS Eleanor Vandegrift. The new Second Lieutenants from USD included 2nd Lt Giovanni Clark,
2nd Lt Michael Farrell,
2nd Lt Will Gabel,
2nd Lt Alexander Howell,
2nd Lt Luke Little,
2nd Lt Zachary Ramos,
2nd Lt Garrett Schrantz and 2nd Lt William Stefanou.

Vice Admiral Brendan McLane, Commander of Naval Surface Forces, Pacific Fleet, delivered the commissioning address. Vice Admiral McLane’s speech touched on camaraderie, resilience and lifelong learning. He emphasized the importance of teamwork and seeking guidance from those more experienced, reminding the newly-commissioned officers that they are not alone on their journeys.

“Thirty four years ago when I sat in your places preparing to take the oath, the world was a different place, but the challenges were the same,” Vice Admiral McLane said. “As you face your challenges of becoming successful officers in the Navy and Marine Corps, take comfort and confidence in the thousands that have gone before you.”

Vice Admiral McLane shared three key pieces of advice: recognize you are not alone, view challenges as opportunities, and never stop learning. He mentioned the challenges of military life and the importance of continuous personal and professional development. 

“There will be no shortage of barriers along your journey,” Vice Admiral McLean said. “But as you approach those barriers, and how you overcome them will make the difference. So, view each one as an opportunity with that mindset you’ll be able to capitalize on them. It’s what you do in these moments that will define you as a leader and as a person. If you remember only one thing from this speech, it’s this: It is our challenges, even our failures, that define us. Not our victories.”

During the ceremony, ENS Anthony Barbero, 2nd Lt William Stefanou and ENS Matthew Lee (a graduate from San Diego State University) were recognized as the top graduates of the battalion, each receiving a ceremonial sword on behalf of the President of National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) San Diego Chapter. 

Additionally, Vice Admiral McLane presented Distinguished Midshipmen awards to ENS Matthew Lee and 2nd Lt William Stefanou. This award honors NROTC midshipmen who excel in leadership, scholarship and military performance.

As these new Ensigns and Second Lieutenants step into their roles, they carry forward the values and lessons learned during their time at USD. 

— Kelsey Grey ’15 (BA)