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Massachusetts man commissioned into Army, receives first salute from 91-year-old veteran grandfather

Korean War veterans salute the American flag during a ceremony at the Pentagon marking the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, Arlington, Va., June 24, 2010. (U.S. Army photo by D. Myles Cullen)

Kenneth Christopher Powers had his 91-year-old grandfather, Air Force Technical Sgt. Kenneth M. Hopkins (Retired), with him when he was commissioned into the U.S. Army during a ceremony at Patton Park in Hamilton, Mass. earlier this month.

The ceremony included the traditional reading of the commission, the Boxford resident reciting his commissioning oath, and the pinning on of his second lieutenant bars. And, Powers received his first salute from his grandfather, who served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

The Transcript asked Powers a few questions about his experiences and what comes next.

Transcript: How does it feel to be following in your grandfather’s footsteps?

Powers: Honestly, it is one of the best feelings I could have. My grandfather sacrificed everything for this country. He served 21 years in the military and served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, and following in his footsteps makes me feel very proud. He had been waiting for that first salute moment since the day I committed to Norwich, and I couldn’t have been happier it was him. To give him that honor is a pride that I don’t think I’ll ever feel again.

Transcript: Now that you’ve been commissioned, what comes next?

Powers: For what comes next, I am not very certain. I am leaving in October for Signal Basic Officer Leaders Course, where the Army will teach me everything I need to know about leading soldiers and functioning in the Signal Corps, like working on communication networks, etc. I am still waiting on the Army to get in contact with me about what comes after BOLC and where I will go.

Transcript: How has Norwich prepared you for this next step?

Powers: Norwich has prepared me in so many ways. Honestly, just all the lessons I learned on leadership will carry on throughout my Army career. If it wasn’t for the good and the bad moments and lessons of leadership at Norwich, I don’t think I would be as prepared to lead soldiers. The confidence, quick thinking and skills that I learned at Norwich in the Corps of Cadets and Army ROTC will stick with me.


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