Gonzaga Bulldog Battalion celebrates 70th birthday at ROTC Military Ball
SPOKANE, Wash. — Gonzaga University’s historic Bulldog Battalion celebrated its 70th birthday on March 23.
The annual celebration is known as GU’s ROTC Military Ball, and this year, it took place inside the Grand Pennington Ballroom and Hall of Doges of the the Historic Davenport Hotel.
The keynote speaker featured retired Lt. Gen. Frank Wiercinski, who was commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) who delivered a speech on his understanding of what defines a leader.
“I don’t believe leaders are born, I believe they are made,” Wiercinski said. “But I believe leaders are made from the day they are born.”
As the crowd observed in a quiet stillness, he went on to list the five traits of a leader. The traits were expanded to include integrity, courage and passion to selflessness, and all were described through the telling of his stories, formed by grave detail.
Wiercinski’s description of flying over where the twin towers had once stood, just months after their falling, set the tone.
“The pilot of the airliner requested permission to fly over where the towers had been – he was approved,” Wiercinski said. “As we flew a full 360 degrees around where the towers once stood, we all stared silently into that scorching pit. From then on, the rest of the flight to Kuwait was dead silent – not one person spoke a word.”
Wiercinski spent 34 years in the military serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as collecting a multitude of honors and awards. He was among the highest-ranking officials of the night and thus had no trouble commanding the audience’s attention.
Despite his high ranking, his rhetoric was still evoking of the cadet appeal. He described a feeling that every cadet was to know.
“As you’re returning to base, drenched in that cold rain, you mustn’t take any shortcuts – always fulfill your duties,” he said, warning against making the mistake he once made as a cadet.
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