Family connection makes ROTC commissioning especially meaningful

The 12 William & Mary ROTC cadets who received their commissioning on Saturday did so in the presence of someone who was once responsible for cadet training for the entire U.S. Army. But for one cadet, that person is more than just a retired major general - he's family.

Army Maj. Gen. (retired) Robert E. Wagner provided the address during William & Mary's ROTC commissioning on May 15 in the Sadler Center's Commonwealth Auditorium. Among the dozen cadets who were commissioned was Amy Rarig '10, Wagner's granddaughter.

Maj. Gen. Robert E. Wagner"I have a long and distinguished military heritage in my family, from my great-grandfathers who served in the Army and Navy, to my grandfathers who both served in the Army, and my father who was an Infantry officer for 27 years," said Rarig. "I am so lucky to have one grandfather here as a speaker, the other here to cheer me on, and my father to pin on my bars. I feel honored to be part of such a tradition and to be the next generation who serves."

Amy Rarig in a poster for sorority lifeRarig majored in Geology at William & Mary and was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. In 2009, she earned an "excellent" rating on the Leadership Development Assessment Course -- "Warrior Forge" -- at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Wagner served as the first Commanding General of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, which oversees Army ROTC and all cadet training. According to his Army biography, he played a large role in conceptualizing the command and is responsible for many of its pre-commissioning policies that remain in effect today.

"We were thrilled and honored to have Maj. Gen. (retired) Bob Wagner as our guest speaker for such a momentous occasion, which involved commissioning of his granddaughter as an officer in the US Army," said Lt. Col. Barbara Streater, chair of William and Mary's Military Science department. "Making the event even more special, we were honored to have Amy's Father, Col. (retired) Jeffrey Rarig administer the oath of office to his daughter, now 2nd Lt. Amy Rarig.  We were moved to tears and delighted by the special, personal reflections that Colonel Rarig shared with us on the bonds and kinship that these cadets and friends shared over the past four years. It was a beautiful comment that summed up an amazing experience and the friendship that will follow all these cadets, now lieutenants, for a lifetime."

During his Army career, Wagner served two tours in Vietnam and commanded a tank battalion, an armored cavalry squadron and the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. He also served as the Assistant Division Commander (Maneuver) of a mechanized division where he played an instrumental role in fielding the first M-1 tank battalions in Europe.

Following his career with the Army, Wagner served as the executive assistant to the president of Norfolk State University.  He currently runs Dragoon Ink, a consulting operation which specializes in leader development, Army issues, local community problems, and university governance. He has a close volunteer relationship with the U.S. Army Cadet Command, and he is a professor emeritus and permanent lecturer at the School of Cadet Command.