AUSTIN, Texas—Rear Admiral John W. Townes III, vice-chief of naval education and training in Pensacola, Fla., will give the address during The University of Texas at Austin’s Reserve Officer Training Corps Joint Commissioning Ceremony at 1 p.m., Friday (May 17).
The ceremony in the Bates Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center is free and open to the public. It is one of several events during the spring 2002 commencement weekend. The highlight event will be the university-wide commencement ceremony Saturday (May 18) on the South Mall of the Main Building. Edwin Dorn, dean of the university’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, will give the commencement address.
Townes’ address Friday will be on the impact of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in New York City and how it demonstrates the crucial importance of the United States armed forces to the national interest.
Townes will administer the oath of office to 33 new officers receiving commissions from the U.S. Army ROTC, the U.S. Navy ROTC, the U.S. Marine Corps ROTC and the U.S. Air Force ROTC.
A total of 56 officers are being commissioned into the armed forces during this school year, including 14 sworn in this December.
The commissioning ceremony will honor all officers completing the program in the fall 2001, spring 2002 and summer 2002 semesters. Nine officers will be commissioned this summer.
Twenty of this year’s graduates will receive commissions in the Army, 12 in the Navy, five in the Marines and 19 in the Air Force.
The son of a career naval aviator, Townes was born in Pensacola, Fla., and made an early decision to also pursue a military career. He attended the United States Naval Academy and was commissioned an ensign in 1972.
Townes has served at sea in seven different afloat units, both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, operating throughout the world. His command assignments have included USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Battle Group/Cruiser Destroyer Group EIGHT, a guided-missile frigate and an amphibious assault ship forward deployed to Japan.
Between tours at sea, Townes was an assignment officer in the Bureau of Naval Personnel; executive assistant/flag secretary to commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; chief of conventional war plans, Strategic Planning and Policy Directorate, U.S. Pacific Command; chief of LandAttack Warfare Branch, Surface Warfare Directorate, Office of Chief of Naval Operations; and as executive assistant to the chief of naval personnel and deputy chief of naval operations (manpower and personnel), in Washington, D.C.
A graduate of the Naval War College and the Armed Forces Staff College, Townes was awarded a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies and is a designated joint special officer.
Townes was a participant in the Senior Officials in National Security Fellowship Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has receive the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (4), Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (3), Navy Commendation Medal (2), Combat Action Ribbon and various unit and campaign awards.
Townes has been the vice-chief of naval education and training in Pensacola, Fla., since November.
In addition to the joint commissioning ceremony, all the ROTC programs of the various military branches will hold individual ceremonies Friday (May 17). The schedules include:
- 10 a.m., United States Navy/Marine Corps ROTC, in the eighth floor atrium of the LBJ Library and Museum. Speaker: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Jerry D. Jennings.
- 10 a.m., United States Army ROTC, in the Quadrangle Room of the Texas Union. Speaker: Maj. Gen. Raymond D. Barrett Jr., deputy chief of staff for training, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command.
- 10:30 a.m., United States Air Force ROTC, in Garrison Hall. Speaker: Lt. Col. Chris Rauschenbach.
For further information contact: Maj. Kenneth R. Kassner, USMC, (512) 471-7647, or Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, (512) 475-7847.