Tri-Service Awards honor ROTC students and Corps of Cadets members for achievements academic, athletic and civic

In the academic year of the mask, the handwash and the 6-foot distance, Norwich University’s military-oriented students still hit their marks, President Dr. Mark Anarumo said.

For the third straight semester, the coronavirus pandemic changed everything, forcing commission-pursuing students in ROTC, students with armed forces contracts and students in the Corps of Cadets to adopt new ways to train and gather. During an early semester quarantine, they stayed mostly in their rooms, waiting for COVID-19 positives to abate. When they returned to business, the students covered their faces, measured off arm-fathom-long spaces and sought their stride.

On Wednesday, on an overcast afternoon at Sabine Field at Haynes Family Stadium, Anarumo honored the Tri-Service Award recipients, who he said succeeded amid an unfair, frustrating, disappointing and sometimes borderline unbearable time.

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Norwich University President Dr. Mark Anarumo speaks Wednesday during the Tri-Service Awards at Sabine Field at Haynes Family Stadium. (Photo by Mark Collier/Norwich University.)

The Tri-Service Awards honored students for leadership in the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Space Force and academic and athletic achievements from members of the Corps of Cadets. The prizes, some named for distinguished service personnel, honored students’ patriotism; professionalism; military history appreciation; warrior ethos; and community devotion and compassion. Ninety-four students received awards.

Anarumo’s being on the field, behind a lectern, in front of an occasionally wind-whipped American flag, was a testament to the Norwich community’s resilience. With more than 24,000 COVID-19 tests in the spring alone and commitment to virus mitigation, the campus had stayed open.

A fatigues-clad Anarumo echoed President Emeritus Richard W. Schneider’s virtually delivered words of a year before — that the assembled students represented the university’s best and had honorably pursued armed service, a career chosen by less than 1% of U.S. residents.

Facing real-world challenges

Now, when our country most needs it, he added, Norwich’s students stand morally strong, ethically principled and prepared to lead through real-world challenges.

“All of you assembled here today represent our hope for a bright future in these increasingly challenging times,” Anarumo said, “challenging not just because of the pandemic, but because the ascension of new peer competitors, new strategic environments and also new domains of conflict.”

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The Lewis E. Perry Memorial Award, which goes to the Norwich University senior cadet who contributed most to all aspects university life, awaits its recipient Wednesday during the Tri-Service Awards ceremony at Sabine Field at Haynes Family Stadium. (Photo by Mark Collier/Norwich University.)

A contentious 2020 presidential election and rising social conflicts revealed rising national tensions. Anarumo said the United States is fighting internally with passion once reserved for outside adversaries.

The Tri-Service Awards honorees, he said, can stand as exemplary citizens amid the rancor, representing university founder Alden Partridge’s citizen-soldier ideal. For global liberty to prevail, Anarumo said, Norwich’s students must tackle their future military missions with innovation, nimble thinking and risk acceptance.

Some future threats, including possibly another post-COVID-19 pandemic, have yet to be considered, he said.

“We’re counting on you all to continue your legacy of outstanding performance that you have demonstrated here at Norwich and take on the challenges that are facing the world,” he said. “We must not look at our current challenges as insurmountable, but forge ahead and add to the long line of men and women who have made our country what it is.”

Click here for a full list of award winners.

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