SYRACUSE — “We salute you” is a common phrase, but for Courtney Linnemeier, a Wawasee High School graduate, it will now take on literal and special meaning.
Linnemeier, now also a graduate of Indiana University as of May 4, was commissioned the very next day as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in a special ceremony after completing the IU ROTC program. The May 5 ceremony included her taking the oath of office, having her second lieutenant shoulder boards pinned on by her parents Will and Rebecca Linnemeier and receiving the traditional first salute from Master Sgt. Robert Dicks, who was influential in her ROTC training. In turn, as a token of appreciation Courtney presented him with a silver dollar.
Also May 5, she was presented the IU President’s Award as the outstanding graduate (she was one of 17 to be commissioned and the only female in the group).
Linnemeier was assigned to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri for an engineering basic officer leadership course where she will learn about route clearance, building and rebuilding things (such as bridges, etc.) and demolition clearance. She will begin the course May 20 and anticipates completion in about mid-October or roughly five months. She will then be assigned to a different Army base.
She had originally wanted to enlist in the Army after graduating from high school, but was instead encouraged by her parents to pursue a college degree. She then enrolled at IU and joined ROTC, completing the training in four years in conjunction with finishing college.
Admittedly, Linnemeier is overwhelmed by the experience of already being an officer in the Army and knowing the military protocol is for enlisted members to salute officers when encountering them. “I don’t know very much about my job yet and I am just 23 (years old),” she noted. “There are many enlisted people who have been in the Army a lot longer than me.”
Starting a “new chapter in my life” she said she is excited to start her Army career and being in ROTC “got my feet wet in the military.”
Linnemeier noted there are two other options for becoming an officer in the military. One is Officer Candidate School and the other is attending a military school.