Karl Kruskopp (center) and Brittany Toney (right) take the oath of office during their commissioning
Two University of Arkansas - Fort Smith students were honored with a ceremony signaling the end of their participation in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program at UAFS and their commissioning as second lieutenants in the Army Reserves.
Karl Kruskopp of Van Buren, an information technology graduate, was commissioned into the U.S. Army Reserves Signal Corps, while Brittany Toney of Clinton, a nursing graduate, was commissioned into the U.S. Army Reserves Nursing Corps.
Pinning on Kruskopp’s bars was his wife, Shanda Kruskopp, and Sgt. 1st Class Jody Mize rendered the first salute. Pinning on Toney’s bars were her parents, Joshua and Elisa McKinney, and Sgt. Candy Titus rendered the first salute.
For Kruskopp, the commissioning will help him receive more opportunities throughout his military career.
“It’s a big relief to get past this hurdle, and my potential has increased exponentially because of the ROTC,” he said. “As a non-commissioned officer, I only had a few more ranks to ascend through, then I would’ve been at the end of my progression at that point. But now, I’ve got potential for promotion all the way through the end of my career.”
Toney, a first-generation college graduate, expressed gratitude for her family’s support.
“I’m just very appreciative for the love and support I’ve received from everyone I’ve had in my life who helped me get where I am today,” she said. “It’s been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember to graduate college. It’s amazing to be a part of a leadership team that will inspire everyone to do their best.”
Retired Lt. Gen. George A. Crocker served as the guest speaker during the ceremony. A native of Russellville, Crocker has commanded at every level, commanding a company, battalion, brigade and division at Fort Bragg in the 82nd Airborne Division. Additionally, he served on the Army staff in the Pentagon and served combat tours in Vietnam and Grenada.
His various decorations he’s received include two Distinguished Service Medals, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Defense Superior Service Medal.
Kruskopp and Toney took their state oaths of office during the ceremony and recited their federal oaths of office during the university’s commencement ceremony Dec. 15.
Following their recitals of the state oath of office, the two were presented a certificate of achievement from the Military Officers Association of America. Col. Anita Deason, military and veterans liaison for U.S. Sen. John Boozman, presented them with gold bars representing their ranks in the Army.
ROTC is a program through the U.S. Army that allows university students to take elective leadership classes in the hopes of transitioning to officer positions with the armed forces following graduation. The commissioning ceremony signifies such a transition. The ROTC program began at UAFS in 2008.
For more information about the ROTC program, contact Jason Hogue, assistant professor of military science, at 479-788-7522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith
The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is the premiere regional institution of Western Arkansas, connecting education with careers and serving as a driver of economic development and quality of place in the greater Fort Smith region. Through a small campus, dedicated professors, and the university’s unique bond with its community, students at UAFS are able to do more in the areas they are passionate about, both on- and off-campus, in a way that prepares them for post-graduate success. To find out how you can do more at UAFS, visit www.uafs.edu.