ROTC students have a ball


The rain did not stop sophomores Cathy Howard, paralegal studies major, and John Richards, political science major, from attending the ROTC ball Friday. Photo by Jackie Friedman.

Cristina Mazzone

Kent State ROTC students and their dates entered the Student Center Ballroom dressed in uniform and formal dresses Friday for the annual ROTC military ball.

They shook the hands of their instructors and honored guests, including Ohio Sen. and veteran Frank LaRose and the spouses of the ROTC instructors, before being seated at one of the many tables lined around an open dance floor.

The night began with the Posting of the Colors, a ceremony displaying five flags. Cadets marched with the flags as the Star-Spangled Banner played over the speakers.

Cadet Johannes Benninghoff organized the ball and gave the welcome speech. He proposed a toast to the U.S., the president, the Army, fallen comrades, honored guests and deployed military men and women.

“It (the ball) means a lot,” Benninghoff said. “It’s my last ball, and things started out hectic.”

Benninghoff is a senior and hopes to become a chaplain after he graduates. Chaplains act as counselors and provide a “positive presence” for military men and women, he said.

After the toasts, Benninghoff called attention to a table set for one that sat on the stage. A water goblet sat turned over next to a lone candle. Salt and a single slice of lemon sat on an otherwise empty plate. This table was there to remember those that lost their lives in battle.

Chaplain Maj. Lewis gave a benediction before dinner on the importance of ROTC students attending the military ball.

“One of the important facets of being a military officer is the cultured side of military life. This night is a training night for ROTC students,” Lewis said. “It would be embarrassing for ROTC students to not be able to know how to wear the uniform and use the right fork.”

After dinner was served, Sen. LaRose and Lt. Col. Rick Mitchell, professor of military science, each made a speech. During his speech, Mitchell said that no one was allowed to leave until he saw them on the dance floor at least once.

Cadets carried out the Retiring of the Colors after the speeches. Jackets came off and the music changed as the cadets moved toward the dance floor to close out the evening.

Mitchell said the military ball is simply an opportunity for the cadets and instructors to bond and relax.

“I think that as a group of people that hang out every week, events like these are making memories that you can take with you 20 to 25 years down the road,” he said.

Contact Cristina Mazzone at [email protected].