Holy Cross Naval ROTC Celebrates and Says Thank You

Jack Quinn ’20

Staff Writer

As the Navy band played and families filled the Hart Center Basketball Arena on the afternoon of Friday, April 12th, the midshipmen of the Holy Cross NROTC prepared to march into the basketball court and commence the annual President’s Review ceremony.  And while on the surface it may seem to be a ceremony consisting of speeches, awards and a parade, the ceremony represents much more to the midshipmen, the administration, and the local community.  

If you didn’t already know, the Holy Cross Naval ROTC (HCNROTC) Unit is not just comprised of students from Holy Cross.  Students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and Worcester State University (WSU) commute to Holy Cross twice per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays to make up about forty percent of the HCNROTC Unit.  There are also four students from Brown University who endure the forty-five-minute commute across state lines, each way, every Tuesday and Thursday to learn and train with our unit.  Together, students from all four schools make up what is known as the Crusader Battalion, one of the oldest and best Naval ROTC units in the nation.  The President’s Review ceremony, done towards the end of the Spring semester, is a way to celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of the midshipmen for this past year, and there was much to celebrate. The midshipmen of the Crusader Battalion continue to excel at their military requirements, service work in the community, athletic performances, and most importantly, academics.  A total of thirty-five individual awards were given out to those who showed particularly high performances in the past year.

The Presidents’ Review also serves to showcase the Crusader Battalion to the top-level administrators of the four-member schools.  A familiar face to all of us, Fr. Phillip Boroughs, S.J., the President of Holy Cross, was in attendance with a front row seat alongside Captain (CAPT) Larry McCullen, the Commanding Officer of HCNROTC and Professor of Naval Science.  Fr. Boroughs has been extremely supportive of the Naval ROTC program during his time as president.  Holy Cross has hosted the Navy ROTC unit for more than seventy-five years, and Fr. Boroughs has continued to extend the College’s warm welcome to the program.  Fr. Boroughs was accompanied by fellow administrators from the other three member schools. Dr. Greg Snoddy, the Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students at WPI was in attendance along with Laura A. Murphy, the Associate Dean for Health and Wellness, Counseling Services at WSU and Ms. Kimberly Millet, the Program Director for the Office of Military-Affiliated Students at Brown.  Since the unit is not located at WPI, WSU, or Brown, the support students receive on their own campuses is tremendously important.  Like Fr. Boroughs, the administrators at the other three-member schools have been consistent and strong with their support for the midshipmen and the program as a whole.

In addition to the support from the college administrators, the HCNROTC Unit receives an incredible amount of support from the local Worcester community.  Every year, over fifteen civic and veterans’ groups attend the Presidents’ Review to show their support.  Additionally, a number of the thirty-five awards mentioned above are sponsored by these organizations.  This year, veterans from wars as far back as World War II and the Korean War were proudly presenting awards to the next generation of warfighters. The consistent support these local organizations show towards the HCNROTC Unit is truly incredible and very motivating for all the midshipmen of the Crusader Battalion.  The Father Joseph T. O’Callahan, S.J. Society is the alumni association for the HCNROTC Unit.  Since 1994, the O’Callahan Society has been at the forefront of support for the Crusader Battalion.   Many of the additional opportunities available to the midshipmen, such as attending leadership conferences, are made possible by the generosity of the O’Callahan society.  Without their support, the Crusader Battalion would not be as successful as it is today.  This year’s Presidents’ Review was well attended by members of the O’Callahan society once again.

Retired U.S. Navy Captain William Boniface served as the ceremonies guest of honor.  Captain Boniface is a thirty-three-year career Navy pilot and served as the Commanding Officer of the HCNROTC Unit from 1994-1998.  In his remarks, he stressed the importance of the training that the midshipmen receive in the Naval ROTC program and spoke to everyone about the dangers of cutting corners in anything involved in our lives.

The College of the Holy Cross has trained and commissioned some of the best officers the Navy and Marine Corps has to offer since 1941.  After another successful year, the Holy Cross NROTC Unit was able to celebrate its achievements once again at its President’s Review and thank those who support its cause.

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