East Carolina University
Cadet Faso, Shafer, Riseden, Miller, and Abate are sworn in during a contracting ceremony by LTC Delvaux. Afterwards, the cadets from the MSI and II were flown around the City of Greenville in the Blackhawk.

Cadet Faso, Shafer, Riseden, Miller, and Abate are sworn in during a contracting ceremony by LTC Delvaux. Afterwards, the cadets from the MSI and II were flown around the City of Greenville in the Blackhawk.

Cadet Nicholas Riseden

Hometown:Burgaw, NC


Major:Computer Science

I joined the Army ROTC program here at East Carolina University (ECU) for a variety of reasons.  I wasn’t great at math or any other particular subject in high school, but my friend recruited me in to the JROTC program.  I did four years of JROTC and heard there was a scholarship available in college through the ROTC program.  My upbringing had also guided me in the direction of service to our Country, so, with that in mind, I applied and received the scholarship offer from East Carolina and UNC-Charlotte.  Financially it was a great decision as well since it is so difficult now to get into college without taking out a ton of money in student loans.  For the most part, I desired to serve and be a leader of America’s Army and things seemed to have fallen in to place to make that happen.

I chose ECU because the other universities I was speaking with didn’t express as much interest in having me in their program.  ECU’s cadet/student atmosphere as well as the camaraderie of being a Pirate is unlike anything else.  As a cadet, aside from rappelling from a tower taller than the trees and finding points out in the woods late at night given a map, protractor, and a compass, the best thing about cadet life is the friendships I have made. 

Upon graduating and commissioning as a 2nd Lieutenant, I hope to serve our Nation as an aviator flying whatever they will allow me to get my hands on.  Being a Pirate is great; being a Pirate cadet is even better.

Cadet Jessica Berggren

Hometown:Alexandria, VA



I decided to join ROTC because I had grown up with the military all my life as an army brat. I had seen through my father the great things the army had to offer, such as traveling, retirement benefits, family support, and recreational opportunities. I knew in order to become an officer; ROTC would be the way to go. What I didn't know was all the hard work and dedication that was necessary, not just for me but the entire cadre. However, once FTX is over, or you've scored the maximum on your PT test, or passed CWST it is all worth that feeling of accomplishment. ECU ROTC has become more than just training it has become like a family, everyone is watching out for you and making sure you're ready for not only LDAC, but being an officer. Once I have finished my degree I plan on becoming an army nurse, not just for my four year mandatory service but for life. Hopefully one day I can come back to ECU and inspire young cadets, just as the cadre is now doing for me.

Cadet Kevin Brewington

Hometown:Rockingham, NC


Major:Business General

When I joined ECU ROTC I already had a good understanding of what to expect, from the background research I did on the program. I already knew ECU was one of the top ranking programs in the state. I joined ECU ROTC in order to better myself as a leader and obtain the skills needed by an army officer. One of the best things about the program thus far is how helpful and knowledgeable the staff is, every single one of them has had experiences in the real army and is always there to give valuable information to any cadet who needs it. With the skills I learned in ECU ROTC I plan to go into the financial branch of the military, full-time and have a career in taking care of the soldiers behind the scenes making sure every soldier gets the pay they deserve. The best experiences I’ve had in ROTC are the FTX’s (Field Training Exercises). We have been put out in the field where we learned how to navigate through woods, play paintball, and learn how to lead a squad of our peers through rough terrain to accomplish missions. I would encourage anyone to join this program not only for the great benefits we get from being here but to get the most out of your college experiences; ROTC has truly made me an outstanding person in and out of school.


Cadet Sarah Hartzel

Hometown:Sanford, NC



I'm currently a junior in the Army ROTC program.  I am a 4-year scholarship recipient, so I've been doing ROTC for 3 years now.  I joined ROTC because I couldn't see myself in a life that didn't involve the military.  I decided to come to ECU for two main reasons:  first of all, because of how widely recognized the Army ROTC program is here, and secondly, for the amazing nursing school program ECU has to offer.  My career goal is to be an Army nurse, and ECU fit perfectly because it has one of the top nursing programs in the state, and one of the best ROTC programs!

Every group of students has its own diverse interests.  The great thing about the Pirate Battalion is that you can find something the Battalion is involved in to fit your personal interests.  I personally have done Ranger Challenge and Color Guard.  Ranger Challenge was a great experience because it physically challenged me every morning to get into the best shape of my life.  Doing Color Guard is another great experience I enjoy. When I'm out there on the football field in front of hundreds of people, presenting the Colors while the National Anthem is being played, I am filled with an immense sense of duty, pride, and honor that can never be described to its fullest, only experienced.

Something else you notice when you're in the Pirate Battalion is how other people treat you different.  Walking in your uniform through campus, you'll see people move out of your way, nod to you, say an encouraging word or a "thank you," and just look at you with more respect.  The student body and professors are somewhat in awe of you because of the decision you made to join ROTC and ultimately serve our country.

Cadet William Mooney

Hometown:Greensboro, NC

Class:1st Year Graduate

Major:Political Science

I decided to enroll in the ECU AROTC as a senior in my undergraduate studies because I wanted a career that would help make a difference in the world as opposed to working a civilian job. The Army offered me that chance so I took it and continued my graduate study at ECU to be a member of the Pirate Battalion. Being in ROTC has afforded me the opportunity to travel and get to do things I never would have expected to do. In the short time I’ve been in ROTC, I’ve been to Kentucky, Texas, and Washington and hope my career takes me all over the globe. After I commission I want to serve in the armed forces for as long as I am able and who knows what other opportunities the Army will have for me down the road.

Cadet Dany Hernandez

Hometown:Winterville, NC


Major:Criminal Justice

When I joined ECU ROTC, I was very excited to do something totally new. I am the first person in my entire family to be born in the United States, so no one in my family has served in the military. I did not plan to do anything related to the military, but after I accidentally came across the program my junior year in high school I fell in love with it immediately. I spent countless hours researching different ROTC programs and ECU was #1 on my list. I don’t think it could have turned out any better because not only did ECU have an outstanding ROTC program, but it was also close to home.

I wanted to be a part of college ROTC because it is definitely the best way to develop skills that you will need later on in life. From public speaking to first aid, ROTC teaches you a variety of skills. My favorite part about ROTC is definitely the camaraderie. You could come to ECU from the other side of the country and not know anyone here, but the day you meet all of the cadets, you have instant friends. If you are sick or in trouble they always have your back and you have theirs as well. As MS I’s most of us are doing things that we have never done before, like rappelling off of a 60 foot tower or swimming in boots. The best part is that you are all going through it together as a team.

Cadet James Moore

Hometown:Clarkton, NC



As an MSII in the ECU Pirate Battalion, I’ve had the chance to enjoy some of the adventurous activities that the battalion has to offer. Being a member of Pirate Battalion has given me the opportunity to venture into things like rappelling, color guard, RANGER CHALLENGE, and running the Army Ten Miler, but there’s plenty more that will be added to this list. As a senior in high school, there was so much to do to prepare for college, so many decisions to make. Out of all the decisions that I made, the best one had to be choosing to join the Pirate family, because no other university presented that challenge that I needed as well as the Pirate Battalion did. I would have to say that the biggest challenge for me would be Ranger Challenge. I joined the team knowing that it was going to push me to the next level both mentally and physically; that’s exactly what it has done. The challenge, the cohesiveness, and the drive to succeed and be amongst the best, is what keeps me coming back for more in this battalion. As my experience at ECU furthers in the battalion, I plan to attend Airborne school, cultural awareness trips, and many other leadership enhancement endeavors, one step at a time.

Cadet Akunna Onwuzurike

Hometown:Raleigh, NC



I decided to join ROTC because of two reasons: the challenges that it offered and the opportunity to travel. I love to challenge myself and I am always looking for new ways to develop and strengthen my abilities.  I chose ECU mainly because of the high NCLEX pass rate. When I first arrived, I soon discovered that the staffs here are wonderful and they truly care about the success of the students.  My best experience thus far in ROTC was my NSTP training. I had the breathtaking chance to go to Germany and take care of our nation’s best soldiers. I was able to practice skills I already knew and learn some new additional nursing skills. In simple terms, it was the best training ever.

Cadet John Vallery

Hometown:Fayetteville, NC


Major:Criminal Justice

My name is Cadet Vallery and I am a freshman here at ECU. I'm from Fayetteville, North Carolina, which is surrounded by Fort Bragg, one of the biggest army posts in the country.  My whole life I have been around the military which is why I am interested in Army ROTC. I came to ECU not only because my whole family came here, but for the ROTC program here. It is no joke at the pirate battalion, but I have an awesome time because the physical training is top notch and the people are great. I have made many good friends already, and I am currently on the Ranger Challenge team. The pirate battalion is the best ROTC program in the country hands down. I have an awesome time here.

Cadet Courntey Soileau

Hometown:Brvantown, MD


Major:Criminal Justice

When I was a junior in high school, I had never thought twice about going into the military. Even though I'm an Air Force "brat", I just never had envisioned myself following my dad's footsteps. After I started looking at different colleges, I found out just how much ROTC has to offer. I decided to sign up and that has proven to be the best decision of my college career. Not only does ROTC pay for my tuition at ECU,  but I get book allowance AND a monthly stipend! ROTC has definitely grown on me during my 3 and a half years of school. I love that when I put on my uniform, I'm not only representing ECU but the United States Army. Now I can't imagine my life without ROTC.

One great experience I had was going to the Basic Airborne Course on September 11th, 2009. Going to Airborne was something that I had worked for and wanted for almost a full year before I actually went. I stayed focused on my grades and improved my PT score every month. I proved to the cadre that this was something I was determined to do. All of my hard work really paid off on my first jump from the C-130. It was the most breath taking feeling, to have jumped 1,250 feet out of an airplane. I had a total of 5 jumps before graduation. I know now that I can do whatever I put my mind to and I will always have this memory to remind myself thanks to ROTC.

This picture of me is right after my father pinned my wings on at my Airborne graduation on 9/11/2009.

Cadet Derek Vanino

Hometown:Sinking Spring, PA


Major:Political Science

ROTC has been a very transformational experience for me. In high school I had the mentality that it was best to put only as much effort into any task as was necessary to pass by minimum standards, and as a result of that I never worked to my potential. After coming to ECU and interacting with the cadre and fellow cadets for only a short period of time, I began to accept that the way I had viewed things before was fundamentally flawed, and that things needed to change. I began to apply myself, and as success came I was continually rewarded with opportunities to do things I never would have imagined myself doing. One such experience was the opportunity to travel to North Georgia College and State University and study the Arabic language over the summer, a highly rewarding and exciting opportunity. In short, I would recommend ROTC to anyone looking for a challenge and the motivation to excel beyond what they had before thought themselves capable of.

Cadet Kyle Bowen

Hometown:Chesapeake, VA


Major:Industrial Engineering 

Army ROTC at East Carolina University for the past four years has been the greatest time of my life.  I had a chance to attend the naval academy and the Citadel, as well as earned an Air force scholarship.  After all was said and done I took the Air force scholarship and headed to East Carolina University because it is where my professional paintball team is based out of.  I was medically disqualified for the Air force, but set my sites higher toward the Army ROTC program, where I worked a semester to obtain a scholarship.  Since being in the Army program I have made so many friends, been apart of Ranger Challenge, Sandhurst Team, passed Air Assault School, and been developing into a leader.  The Cadre and cadets as well as the student body at east Carolina have a drive to succeed, and be winners which is my playground.  I recently attended Leadership Development Assessment Course where I scored 5th in the nation, and I owe it all to the Pirate battalion that trains its cadets for nothing but success.  I strive to be the best in every endeavor I encounter and East Carolina is driving me further then I every though possible.  Go Pirates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!