June 06, 2018

SIU Carbondale Army ROTC Cadets earn their commissions

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Seven cadets from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Army Reserve Officer Training Corps, Saluki Strike Battalion, earned their commissions as second lieutenants on May 11 at the Student Center. They also earned their bachelor’s degrees in commencement ceremonies May 12 at the SIU Arena. 

Throughout a normal four-year plan, cadets participate in one Army military science course each semester,  physical training, a leadership lab each week and one field training exercise per semester.  A majority of the cadets within the program receive federal or state funds to assist them with tuition and living expenses during the semester. 

After commissioning and graduation, the newly commissioned second lieutenants will attend their basic officer leadership course. This course develops their leadership ability and prepares them for their respective military occupation. 

Below is a list of newly commissioned second lieutenants with their hometown, degree, and their U.S. Army occupation. 


  • Carbondale: 2nd Lt. Samuel Rhoda, information systems technology, active duty, Signal Corps.
  • Kingston: 2nd Lt. Sydney Geils, forestry, active duty, Field Artillery.
  • Shelbyville: 2nd Lt. Zachary Williams, criminology and criminal justice, active duty, Military Police.
  • Tuscola: 2nd Lt. Tamara Little, aviation management, active duty, Signal Corps.
  • Poplar Grove: 2nd Lt. Jacob Wendlandt, aviation management, aviation, Illinois National Guard. 


  • Evansville: 2nd Lt. Zachery Bilskie, industrial technology, active duty, Ordinance Corps. 


  • Oregon: 2nd Lt. Mason Higgins, music, criminology and criminal justice, and languages, cultures and international studies; infantry, Wisconsin National Guard. 

Visit armyrotc.siu.edu/ for more information on the SIU Carbondale Army ROTC program.