January 29, 2013

The Black Horse Troop and Equestriennes were not the only Culver connection in the Inaugural Parade on Jan. 21. Tommy Ott ’09 was one of the 90 U.S. Military Academy cadets selected to march in the parade. He was in the middle of the first row.

“The individuals in the front row were all the Regimental Commanders and Regimental Command Sergeants Major for each of the four regiments that make up the Corps of Cadets,” Ott explained via email. “I am currently, and have served, as the 3rd Regiment Commander for the duration of my senior year. We were led by the Deputy Brigade Commander (in front of the guidon) and our First Captain, or Brigade Commander, was marching at the very start of the parade with the Army Staff.”

Ott said the experience “was great overall.” The cadets left New York Saturday morning. They stayed at at the Naval Academy Saturday and Sunday, practicing with all the other Army units marching in the parade on Sunday afternoon at Fort Myer.

On parade day, the cadets woke up at 4 a.m. “with formation at 0500, security clearance at 0730, and then we stood in a holding tent on ‘the yard’ until the morning ceremonies were complete.” Ott said. They moved into position at approximately 2 p.m. and the parade started at approximately 3:30. Box lunches with sandwiches and chips were their staple for a majority of the day.

“I would say it was a very long day of waiting, but well worth being able to see the president and commander in chief when we rendered our salute in front of the reviewing box. Something I will always remember,” he said.

While staying at Annapolis, Ott was able to visit with Stephen Keisler ’10, who is a freshman at the Air Force Academy. As a member of the outstanding Air Force cadet squadron for 2012, Keisler marched in the parade as well. The Air Force unit also stayed at the Naval Academy on Saturday and Sunday, Ott said, “so we were able to catch up and watch the football game Sunday night. It was definitely great to see him.”

The Army cadets were chosen by a team of evaluators based on their marching prowess and military bearing. Ott was the first-make Culver Military Academy regimental commander during the 2008-09 school year. He is one of 15 Culver graduates now at West Point.

“I frequently see many of the Culver graduates in passing,” Ott wrote in his email. “Daniel Young (2009) and Momo Kime (2010) are the graduates I probably see the most, but I often see many others in our busy schedules here at school. They seem to all be doing very well as most people would expect.”

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