Web Exclusive: ROTC captain promoted to major

Caitlyn Wachovec

Family and friends gathered today at the Army ROTC building to witness the promotion of Capt. Jeff Lakner to Maj. Lakner.

During six years as a captain, Lakner said he had to complete key developmental jobs to be promoted to a major.

“We knew it was going to happen; we just didn’t know when,” Kimberly Lakner, Maj. Lakner’s wife, said.

During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Ricardo Mitchell said this would be one of many promotions for Maj. Lakner.

“This tells you something about the caliber of officers we have here at ROTC,” Mitchell said.

The major compared his new rank to being at the corporate level of the military. He said he is no longer a general manager, but he is not yet an executive.

“With the new rank comes new responsibility,” Maj. Lakner said.

Two of Maj. Lakner’s children, Ryan, 4, and Renee,1, witnessed his promotion as well as his parents, grandmother, uncle and in-laws.

Maj. Lakner’s mother, Mary Lakner, said she and his father were immensely proud of their son.

“He’s got a good woman behind him, supporting him,” she said. “That’s always important.”

After the ceremony Maj. Lakner thanked his wife first for his success getting to this point in the military.

“I wouldn’t be here without my great wife, Kim,” he said.

He and his wife have been married for nine years and have three children. The two are originally form Ohio. They met at the University of Akron, but the family has lived in Italy and Germany during his deployments in Afghanistan.

Kimberly said it was nice living oversees, but she said it was hard on the whole family while Maj. Lakner was away.

Nearly a dozen ROTC cadets shared the moment with Lakner as well. One cadet was recording the ceremony to put on Facebook and YouTube for others to see. Maj. Lakner had some objections to this idea at first, but he caved in the end.

“I’m more of a behind-the-scenes kind of guy,” he said.

Contact ROTC reporter Caitlyn Wachovec at [email protected].