West Chester University Grad Chosen for U.S. Army’s Virtual National Commissioning Ceremony

West Chester University Grad Chosen for U.S. Army's Virtual National Commissioning CeremonySecond Lieutenant Joseph D. Bittner in his ROTC cadet uniform.

WEST CHESTER, PA — On June 12, newly minted WCU graduate Joseph D. Bittner ’20 (Delta, PA) will proudly represent the ROTC Dauntless Battalion during the virtual National Commissioning Ceremony, one of the most prominent adaptations to conducting Army ROTC training during COVID-19.

Bittner was awarded the Dauntless Battalion Saber for service as the Cadet Battalion Commander, the highest position assigned to the top cadet. He was commissioned as an Army Second Lieutenant on May 13, 2020, as part of the Dauntless Battalion virtual commissioning ceremony. He also earned Distinguished Military Graduate and Distinguished Military Student honors.

health and physical education major, Bittner served as a performance coach for the University’s adapted lifetime fitness and nutrition program, where he helped adults with cognitive disabilities improve their cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and group camaraderie. He was also an assistant coach for WCU Rammies Special Olympics swim team.

He was an active member of the Health & Physical Education club and was recognized by the Pennsylvania Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (PSAHPERD) as an Outstanding Future Professional in 2018. Bittner was also a member of the WCU CrossFit Club and placed fifth at the Mid-Atlantic College Classic CrossFit Competition.

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Starting Army ROTC in the fall of 2016, Bittner earned a 3.5-year scholarship in the spring of 2017. In June 2018, he was selected for Cultural Understanding & Leadership Proficiency (CULP) and spent a month training with cadets in Thailand.

In August 2018, he graduated from U.S. Army Air Assault School at Fort Hood, Texas. He currently maintains an Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) score of 336 on the extend scale. His leadership abilities, APFT score, grades, and character have placed him at the top of his class.

At the end of his MSIII year, out of 19 of his peers, Bittner was rated number one and was subsequently given the responsibility of serving as the Dauntless Battalion Commander for the Fall 2019 semester upon return from Advanced Camp and Infantry CTLT.

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With his commissioning, Bittner will serve on Active Duty as an Infantry Officer.

In addition to Bittner, the following six West Chester University students were also commissioned as Army Second Lieutenants on May 13, 2020, as part of the Dauntless Battalion virtual commissioning ceremony. They will begin their Army careers as stated.

Anthony P. Colasurdo will serve on Active Duty first as an Infantry Officer and transition to a Military Intelligence Officer. He earned Distinguished Military Graduate and Distinguished Military Student honors.

Christopher E. Critti will serve on Active Duty as an Air Defense Artillery Officer.

Jeff Gaston will serve on Active Duty as a Cyber Officer.

Travis B. Horst will serve in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard as an Infantry Officer.

David M. Manasek will serve on Active Duty first as an Infantry Officer and transition to a Signal Corps Officer.

Sawyer S. Robinson will serve in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard as an Infantry Officer.

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Dauntless Battalion Army ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) provides training on campus at Widener, Villanova and West Chester universities. ROTC is an elective Leadership Development Course taken in conjunction with a college student’s normal course load.

The ROTC program follows an Army-sanctioned curriculum consisting of military science classes as well as hands-on leadership labs, physical training, and field training. Those who complete the four years of training earn a commission as an Officer in the U.S. Army and may serve full-time (Active Duty) or part-time (Army Reserve or National Guard) after graduation.

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