Retired Sgt. Wayne Henry presents the Military Order of the Purple Heart Award to junior Jacob Bliss. | Photo by Anna Meassick.

Last Friday, 38 cadets in the Reserve Officers Training Corps programs at the University of Rhode Island, Salve Regina University and Roger Williams University were honored in the annual Cramer’s Sabers Battalion Military Awards Ceremony.

ROTC originated at URI in 1894 as a military training unit with 14 men. It has since grown to become the Department of Military Science with 94 students enrolled, and offers a full minor in Military Science and Leadership. The department helps senior cadets prepare for a career in the Army, Army Reserve or Army National Guard, and students can be awarded scholarships for their performance.

In 1986, the battalion was named “Cramer’s Sabers” to honor 1st Lt. Parker Dresser Cramer, who was a graduate of the class of 1959.

Awards presented in the ceremony were split into four categories: local, memorial, national and cadet command. Maj. Bryon Stumph served as the narrator and announced the awards throughout the night. He was accompanied by Lt. Col. Brian Mehan, chair of URI’s department of military science.

“The individuals who will receive awards today are but a sampling of tremendous talent, we are so fortunate to host,” Mehan said. “These awards represent the culmination of an entire year of their academic, athletic and military pursuits. The cadets in our program demonstrate great resolve, rising well before dawn for physical training, and staying up late through the evening in deciduous study. This year, our cadets have learned new skills, forged new partnerships and discovered a common purpose in their service. I applaud their diligence and their commitment.”

In the national category, 12 URI cadets received awards.

In this category, the first award to be presented to a URI cadet was the Association of the United States Army Award, which was given to senior Nicholas Arbour.

“[These awards] are presented to cadets who display superb leadership qualities and moral character,” Stumph said.

Junior Cadet Skyler Realejo received the Society of the War of 1812 award, which was presented by Mehan. Realejo was given the award because of her high academic standing and exceptional moral character.

The next award presented was the Military Order of the Purple Heart Award, which was given to junior Jacob Bliss. Retired Sgt. Wayne Henry was in attendance to present the award.

“This award is presented to a cadet who displays a positive attitude and dedication to ROTC and country,” Stumph said.

The other awards in this category presented to URI cadets were the National Sojourners Award, which was received by sophomore Daniel Baglini; the Military Officers Association of America Award, which was received by junior Payton Grande; the Military Order of Foreign Wars award, which was received by senior Matthew Kirlis; the Armed Communication and Electronics Association Award, which was received by junior Patrick Richardson; the Order of the Founders and Patriots Award, which was received by sophomore Megan Klein and freshman John Cardi; the Reserve Officers Association Award, which was received by junior William Sangster; the American Legion Award, which was received by Arbour; the Veterans of Foreign Wars award, which was received by senior James Vartanian; the USAA Spirit Award, which was received by senior Mark Pierce; and the Daughters of the Founders and Patriots award, which was received by freshman Sierra James.

In the local category, the only award presented to a URI cadet was the South Kingstown American Legion Unit 39 Auxiliary Award, which was received by Grande. Cynthia Barrington, who is the Vice President of the unit, was in attendance to present the award.

“This award is presented to a female cadet who has been recognized for her outstanding leadership potential,” Stumph said.

In cadet command category, which is specific to Cramer’s Battalion students, four awards were presented.

Seniors Erika Bush and Andrew Smedberg received the Distinguished Military Student Award because of their outstanding leadership qualities, great moral character and rank in the upper one-third of the ROTC class.

Smedberg also received the Society of the American Military Engineers Award.

The final award presented was the Superior Cadet Award.

“These awards are presented to students from each class who are recognized leaders, and they have established a high standard to which all others rise,” Stumph said.

This award was received by Bush.

The ceremony concluded with the playing of the Army song, in which all the cadets and a majority of the audience members sang along.

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Ian Weiner
There's the way things are perceived and then there's reality. The role of a journalist is to help the public differentiate between the two. I'm doing this because I want to make a difference. Giving people the resources they need to be informed is one of the most critical things any society can have. In addition, I like telling stories, whether they are about people, places, things, events, you name it. Lastly, it is an honor to be able to lead the editorial staff, help them achieve everything they want, and leave knowing The Cigar will have a brighter future than ever before.