Skip to content Skip to main content

Media Releases

State Leaders Celebrate Ohio Students Committing to Service in U.S. Armed Forces

Release date: 3/12/2024

Stephen D. Dackin, director of the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce; Maj. Gen. (U.S. Army retired) Deborah Ashenhurst, director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services; and Ohio Second Lady Tina Husted today recognized high school students from throughout Ohio who have committed to service in the U.S. military.

High school seniors and juniors who are entering service academies, have committed to serve as active duty, Reserve, or National Guard members, or have earned a Reserve Officer Training Corps Scholarship were invited to take part in the 2024 Military Signing Day at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus.

“I want to congratulate the students here today for their bravery, sacrifice, and honor as they commit to being Ohio’s future service members,” said Second Lady Husted. “Their dedication is admirable and will help ensure the security and freedom of our nation. I am honored to be a small part of their journey.”  

“Today’s event signifies an important recognition for students who are entering the U.S. Armed Forces following graduation,” said Director Dackin. “We are proud of their commitment and celebrate this profound act of service on behalf of our nation.”

The students signed commitment letters, received red, white, and blue cords from the USO, and celebrated with their families and members of the military and education communities.

“It takes a special person to raise their hand and swear to support and defend the constitution of this great country,” said Director Ashenhurst. “It’s important that we celebrate these young women and men for their commitment and encourage others to follow in their footsteps. The security of our nation needs our best and brightest to serve in our Armed Forces and preserve our way of life.”

Stacia Naquin, a USO volunteer and ABC 6 news anchor, provided the welcome address. Students James Wakefield, Marietta High School, and Samantha Dauterman, Goshen High School, along with MSgt Kesha Harper, United States Air Force, shared their reasons for serving in the armed forces. The South High School Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps conducted the presentation of colors. Students from Canal Winchester Local School District’s Winchester Trail Elementary School led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Sgt. Szu-Yu Chu of the 338th Army Band sang the national anthem.

The commitment celebration also featured Col. Travis Pond, Vice Wing Commander, 88th Air Base Wing, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Maj. Gen. John Harris, Adjutant General, Ohio Air and Army National Guard.

A video of the event is available on the Department’s webpage.