On Friday afternoon, at a ceremony held at the Georgia Techís historic Academy of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, seventeen cadets of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) were commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Air Force. Among them were siblings Bethany Blanton and Riley Blanton, formerly of Rhea County.
Lt Col Juan Silva, commander of Georgia Tech AFROTC Detachment 165, praised and challenged the new lieutenants during opening and closing remarks. During the ceremony, both Blantons were administered the Oath of Office by their former AFROTC commander, Lt Col Michael C. Olvera. Upon completion of the oath, the proud parents, Doug and Becky Blanton, followed long-standing military tradition by pinning the shiny new second lieutenant bars on their sonís and daughterís uniforms.
Following another Air Force tradition, the newly commissioned officers were allowed to choose an active or separated military service member to render a ceremonial first salute. Rendering Lt. Bethany Blantonís first salute, was her first Civil Air Patrol (CAP) commander and former Army Specialist, Mark Landrum. Rendering Lt. Riley Blantonís first salute was Edward Stobart, of Rhea County, former Navy Seaman.
From 2010-2014, while living in Dayton, Tennessee, the Blantonís were active volunteers in the CAPís Chattanooga Composite Squadron. Riley joined as a cadet, earned the rank of Cadet Captain (in record time),and was selected to serve as his squadronís cadet commander before later transitioning to senior member. Bethany, just over that age of being eligible for CAPís cadet program, joined as a senior member, and was appointed to serve as the squadronís Deputy Commander for Cadets, devoting her time to training and mentoring cadet leaders.
The Civil Air Patrol, an official auxiliary of the United States Air Force, has special provisions for cadets with three years of experience, or cadets who receive the General Billy Mitchell Award. These CAP cadets are eligible to enlist in the Air Force with the advanced pay grade of E-3. Further, the Blantonís successful completion of the Air Force ROTC program, along with a 4 year commitment to serve, jump started their military careers with a promotion to second lieutenant.
Both Lieutenants Blanton are graduating this week with academic honors from Georgia State University, having earned their degrees in Political Science. They have been assigned as intelligence officers, and will be reporting to Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas for advanced training.