Cadets and midshipmen representing the three branches of the University’s ROTC traded in their training gear and fatigues for pressed uniforms and polished medals last night at the University’s annual Tri-Service Awards Ceremony.

About 400 ROTC students, veterans, faculty and family members attended the ceremony in Rackham Auditorium. Forty-four different organizations handed out more than 125 awards and scholarships to outstanding students of the four branches — the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force — which come together each year for a ball in March and the service awards in April.

Engineering sophomore Joseph Poznanski, an Army cadet and recipient of the American Legion Award for Military Excellence, said the event is held to honor the best and brightest of each ROTC branch.

“Tonight is for accrediting people who are receiving an award for either military excellence or being a superior cadet,” Poznanski said. “(It’s) for outstanding accomplishments that they’ve done over the course of the year.”

The ceremony featured opening remarks by Lt. Col. Allana Bryant of the U.S. Army and guest speaker Col. Graydon Krapohl of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Krapohl, who was presented with a football signed by Michigan football coach Brady Hoke, emphasized the importance of the four branches of the ROTC working jointly in his speech.

“It is important to learn about your sister services,” Krapohl said. “If you’re in the Army, reach out to the Marines … reach out to the Navy, to the Air Force.”

Major Alex Garn said the ROTC has a “great mutual relationship with the University,” especially through the academic support the University provides for ROTC members.

“The University has been very supportive in what we do in our Officer Education Program,” Garn said. “It’s great to be able to do it on campus here and have their professors come and support this type of event.”

Nursing senior Catherine White, an Air Force cadet, won four awards last night, including the Scabbard and Blade Award, which is reserved for the top 20 percent of cadets and midshipmen entering their fifth semester of collegiate studies.

“It was just a really good end to the school year and a testament to all the hard work that everyone here has done this whole year,” White said after the event. “I’m really proud of everything that everyone else has done.”

Nursing sophomore Kim Kozlowski, a midshipman in the Naval ROTC, said she was pleasantly surprised with the turnout for the event.

“These might have been prior ROTC members or just people interested in military affairs,” Kozlowski said. “It’s really great to see all of the support.”

After the awards were presented, the Army was presented with the Commander’s Cup. The Cup is awarded each year to the branch that has received the most points during the year through various activities, including football, soccer, basketball and cross-country competitions.

“It came down to a three-way tie, and Army won in the 5K,” said Kozlowski. “(But) it’s friendly competition, it’s brotherly. We’re all here for the same purpose. It’s a camaraderie.”

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