Eight young men and women will stand at Fayetteville State University on Friday, raise their right hands and swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies.
In doing so, some will fulfill lifelong dreams. Others will etch another notch of service in a long family tradition of the same. And many will take the next step in Army careers that already total more than 44 years.
The eight students, from Fayetteville State and Campbell, will become the Army’s newest second lieutenants.
They include Brendell Martin Davis Jr., Anna-Theresa Yuen-Duenes, Daniel Fahey, Jia Greene, Trey Howerton, Brad Leach and Amy KingJones from Fayetteville State and Abdulqawwiyyu Oyebamiji from Campbell.
Six of the eight new officers will have had prior experience in the military. Several have remained on active duty as enlisted soldiers during their schooling. Others have regularly drilled with Army Reserve or National Guard units while studying.
Davis, 24, of Fayetteville, will follow a five-year career in the North Carolina National Guard by becoming a field artillery officer, with expectations to be stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Yuen-Duenes, 21, of Mangilao, Guam, will become part of the third generation of her family to serve in the Army. She will become a field artillery officer at Fort Bliss, Texas. In doing so, she’ll help break barriers in a career that was only recently opened to female officers.
Fahey, 31, of Naples, Florida, will start a new chapter of his Army career as he graduates with a degree in intelligence studies and begins a career as an infantry officer.
After a 10-year enlisted career, the last five of which have been spent at Fort Bragg, most recently with the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion, Fahey entered the Army’s Green to Gold program on his path to transitioning from sergeant first class to first lieutenant.
Greene, 24, of Georgetown, South Carolina, will also transition from noncommissioned officer to officer.
A soldier in the Army Reserve who serves with a South Carolina-based unit, Greene enlisted while she was still in high school and is currently a sergeant and truck driver. As an officer, she'll serve as part of the Army’s Finance Corps at Fort Lee, Virginia-based Reserve unit.
Howerton, 31, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is also transitioning from NCO to officer through the Army’s Green to Gold program.
A sergeant first class with the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion, Howerton said that after 10 years of service he decided to become an officer in search of new challenges. He'll join the Army's cyber warriors.
Leach, 23, of Fayetteville, said becoming an officer will fulfill a promise he made Sept. 11, 2001.
A then 7-year-old Leach said he found his grandmother crying while watching the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania and told her he would help make everything better.
Years later, Leach said he was put on a waiting list at a recruiter’s office due to excessive scarring. Instead of waiting he did the next best thing in his eyes and enrolled at Fayetteville State with plans to enter the ROTC program.
Now Leach will become a military police officer stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
KingJones, 24, of Goldsboro, spent six years in the Army and served on active duty before joining a Reserve unit based in Knightdale.
Becoming an officer will help her get back on active duty, this time as a finance officer stationed in South Korea.
The lone Campbell commissioner, Oyebamiji, is also becoming an officer through the Green to Gold program.
The 24-year-old native of Nigeria joined the Army in 2011 and has been stationed at Fort Bragg since He said leaders saw potential in him and he hopes not to disappoint as he becomes an ordnance officer stationed in Alaska.
“Before I came to America it was always my dream to join the Army,” Oyebamiji said. “I just always thought it would be in Nigeria.”
Military editor Drew Brooks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 486-3567.