The commissioning ceremony is a memorable event for any ROTC cadet. It signifies the cadet’s acceptance as a member of the U.S. military. This semester, 29 Air Force ROTC cadets and 21 Army ROTC cadets will be commissioned at a ceremony on May 12 at the Lory Student Center. Here are just a few stories of the outstanding cadets who will soon be officers in the U.S. military.
Chloe Mitchell, Air Force ROTC
Members of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe in New York live by a principle that has served as a guiding light for Air Force ROTC cadet Chloe Mitchell.
“Something really important in my culture is the concept of thinking about how every decision impacts the next seven generations,” said Chloe Mitchell, who is graduating with a degree in food science and human nutrition. “It’s just something that’s always been really powerful to me.”
It’s something that led Mitchell from the worlds of semi-professional skiing and the University of Denver and lacrosse to Colorado State University and the Air Force ROTC Program — a decision that seemed unfathomable just a few years ago.
For Mitchell, she said something was missing in her life. Injuries had derailed her skiing career and her best friend was leaving the University of Denver. It was on a whim that Mitchell decided to transfer to CSU during the COVID-19 pandemic, instead of returning to New York. It turned out to be one of her best decisions, she said.
At the urging of a family, Mitchell looked into the Air Force ROTC program after arriving at CSU. There, she found the structure she desired as well as an outlet to make a positive impact on others through leadership.
“I was craving that team element and something to work for that gave me a purpose,” Mitchell said. “I was feeling really, really lost in life, and I’m really lucky things ended up the way they did.”
In her last two years at CSU, Mitchell said she has gained leadership experience helping to mentor the underclassman in Detachment 90. It’s a skill that will help her in the coming months as she moves on to become a combat systems officer in the Air Force.
“I’m filled with a lot of excitement and gratitude,” Mitchell said. “Even though my time at CSU is ending, I have to remind myself that it’s not the end for me; it’s really just the beginning. I get to go on an impact people just like others did for me, and that’s really exciting.”
Korrin Freed and Clayton Freed, Army ROTC
For Korrin and Clayton Freed, graduation is the second momentous occasion that has happened this academic year. The first happened on the top of a mountain.
The couple first met in 2019 at Mugs coffee shop. When Korrin arrived on the first date, she found Clayton in his Army uniform working on engineering homework.
“I remember walking into the coffee shop and thinking, ‘Wow, he looks like Captain America,’” said Korrin, who is graduating with a degree in health and exercise science. “I was immediately smitten.”
The connection eventually led Korrin to switch from the Air Force ROTC program at CSU to the Army ROTC program. Korrin, who enjoys hiking up 14,000-foot mountains, explained that the exposure to the physically demanding activities that the Army offers, such as the ruck marathon, led to the switch.
Korrin’s love for extreme activities led the couple to the top of Colorado’s highest mountain, Mount Elbert, last fall. There, Clayton asked his friends to take some summit photos of the couple when he got down on one knee.
“It was the absolute last thing that she expected because she thought this was her entire adventure that she had made,” said Clayton who is graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering.
The two were married in October in a small ceremony at the home of Korrin’s grandmother. When Korrin returned with the last name Freed emblazoned on her uniform, it took a few cadets by surprise. “They were like, ‘You’re wearing the wrong uniform,” she said with a smile.
As for what’s next, the couple will soon be embarking on their next adventure. Clayton is heading to Georgia for training and Korrin will be doing an internship this summer, with her commissioning slated for August.
While the two will be apart for a bit, they know they’re spending a lifetime together. “Marriage is about making a statement to everyone else that’s important in your life about your relationship,” Clayton said.