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A proud day for three new Army lieutenants


ROTC cadets Jonathan Harper, left, Crystal Ann Karp and Terrance Matlack accepted commissions into the U.S. Army during a ceremony at Sacramento State.
Three brand-new second lieutenants were commissioned Friday, June 10, during a ceremony at Capistrano Hall conducted by Sacramento State’s Army Reserve Officer Training Corps.

The Forged Gold Battalion’s festivities had an emotional element for friends and loved ones as Jonathan Harper, Crystal Ann Karp and Terrance Matlack swore to defend their country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That oath has a special resonance with thousands of American forces currently in harm’s way.

Harper and Matlack will be heading for five months of field artillery training at Fort Sill, Okla., followed by a likely deployment to Afghanistan. Karp’s active-duty assignments will include a stop at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., before reporting to Schofield Barracks, Oahu, Hawaii, where she will serve as an intelligence officer.

Serve is the operative word for these junior officers. All three enlisted in the Army prior to getting their college degrees. Harper was an infantryman and spent a year in Iraq, where he earned commendation medals, one with valor.  Matlack was in a National Guard field artillery unit after completing basic training. Karp served for 13 years as a combat medic in Germany, plus stateside military postings in Sacramento, San Diego and Kentucky.

Harper, who earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, is looking to make a career of the Army, to include a stint in the Rangers. Thereafter he plans to earn a master’s degree and become a high school teacher and basketball coach.

Karp’s career goals are fairly well defined, having accrued nearly half the time required for retirement from the Army. She plans to bolster her bachelor’s degree in health science with a doctorate that will enable her to serve in the Army’s Public Health Command.

Matlack, on the other hand, expects to complete a four-year tour of duty, to include Ranger training, and then teach high school. The political science major’s goal is to teach government in a manner that will inspire young men and women to respect public service.

Lori Varlotta, Sacramento State's vice president for Student Affairs, urged the newly commissioned officers to use their experience to hone their leadership skills. Her advice is especially relevant because all three have the perspective of enlistees. As such, they appreciate their primary responsibility of taking care of the troops under their command.

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