3rd Annual Justin Fitch Memorial Ruck

Justin Fitch holding a veterans patchSaturday, October 6th we honored American Hero Justin Fitch at this year’s Third Annual Justin Fitch Memorial Ruck, at the Chutes and Ladders Pavilion in Houghton’s Kestner Park. The official ceremony began at approximately 2:30pm. Immediately following the event, there was a cookout. Faculty, staff, students and community members attended the event. Additionally, Lt. Col. Christian A. Thompson, Army ROTC 1st Battalion, 107th Engineers, assisted in a dedication ceremony for a memorial that has been placed on the ROTC front lawn in honor of Fitch.

I have had the privilege of overseeing this event the last three years and I continue to be amazed at the way our community has come together to support this incredible cause. —Grant M Beatus

The Carry the Fallen Ruck March is a four-mile hike where participants can choose to carry a weighted pack to symbolize the struggles that veterans go through every day. Justin Fitch ’05, was a Michigan Tech grad who served as a major in the United States Army. Fitch led a ruck march to bring awareness to the fact that 22 veterans a day take their own lives.

Tragically, Justin was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer in May 2012. After being medically retired from the Army in 2015, he was determined to continue to fight for his brothers in arms. Despite chemotherapy treatments and numerous medical appointments, he fought and marched for his brothers until the day he passed away on October 4, 2015

In an effort to continue what Fitch called his “final mission,” we have teamed up with Active Heroes, a 501(c) (3) charity whose mission is to support all U.S. military service members, veterans and their families through physical, educational and emotional programs in an effort to eliminate suicide.


Husky Alpine Run

DSC_0047Are you up for a Halloween challenge? Come join the Michigan Tech Department of Military Science in our inaugural Husky Alpine Run on Oct. 27, which is a 5 km trail race on Mont Ripley. Don’t ski or snowboard? No worries. Many people enjoy skiing or snowboarding the slopes of Ripley and now you get to run them.  We encourage everyone to show up and run in their Halloween costume as prizes are awarded to the costume contest winner.

All racers will get complimentary food and beverages after the event and there will also be raffle prizes. The winners of each age group (male and female) will receive medals, and the overall male and female winners will get their names engraved on a plaque that will be posted in the Military Science building. Sign up now and get a free event t-shirt. Student registration is only $15.

We also want to give back to our community in Houghton and help fund road repairs caused by the devastating Father’s Day flooding. To do so, we will donate part of our proceeds to help fund flood relief efforts. Come out and have a fun time and help us support our community.


WWI Symposium Keynote Speakers

WW1CC logo with mineTwo speakers are featured this weekend with the WWI symposium “Armistice and Aftermath.”

John Morrow, Jr. (University of Georgia) will present “African American Experience in WWI and Aftermath” from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday (Sept. 28)in the Rozsa Lobby. Lynn Dumenil (Occidental College) will present “Women and the Great War” from noon to 1 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 29) in the MUB Ballroom. Both talks are free and open to the public.

Morrow’s talk will address how African Americans understood and participated in the war effort on the home and fighting fronts and how white Americans responded to their efforts. He will explore how the war affected race relations and the conditions of African American life in the postwar United States.

Dumenil’s talk will focus on popular culture images of women in World War I, especially the attention given to how American women challenged gender conventions. She will explore claims that the war transformed traditional gender roles as well as the persistent power of expectations about women’s traditional roles.

Morrow Jr. and Dumenil will be on campus all day Friday (Sept. 28). If you are interested in meeting with either of them, email ww1cc@mtu.edu.

The visits have been supported by the Visiting Women and Minority Scholars program. The public lectures are part of “World War I in the Copper Country,” an extensive program of events and exhibits commemorating the WWI Armistice. Sponsors include Michigan Technological University Institutional Equity office, the Departments of Humanities, Social Sciences and Visual and Performing Arts, Finlandia University, the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw and the Michigan Humanities Council.


Armistice and Aftermath Symposium

WW1CC logo with mineThe WWI Armistice and Aftermath Symposium is a two-day event, Friday and Saturday (Sept. 28 and 29) that includes presentations, a film and concert, most on the Michigan Tech campus.

Armistice Day 2018 marks the centenary end of World War I. This symposium explores the conditions and impacts of the Great War as experienced during and afterward.

All events are open to the public and admission is free. The full program is available online. A box supper on Friday and a buffet lunch on Saturday are available for $5 and must be reserved in advance by no later than noon Wednesday (Sept. 26).

Friday’s events:

  • 4-5 p.m.: Sue Collins (HU) “Local Theaters, Propaganda and WWI.” Orpheum Theater, Hancock
  • 6-7 p.m.: Superior Wind Symphony, “Europe, America, and the World: An Outdoor Concert.” On Walker lawn if weather permits; otherwise McArdle Theatre
  • 7:30-8:30 p.m.: John Morrow Jr. (University of Georgia), “African American Experience in WWI and Aftermath.” Rozsa Lobby

Saturday’s events:

  • 8:45 a.m.: Symposium Committee Welcome, MUB Ballroom
  • 9-11:15 a.m.: Symposium Panels (see full program online)
  • 12-1 p.m.: Lynn Dumenil (Occidental College), “Women and the Great War.” MUB Ballroom
  • 1:15-3:45 p.m.: Symposium Panels
  • 7:30-9 p.m.: “Copper Country at the Silver Screen in 1918,” Rozsa Theater. A silent film program featuring a 1918 Charlie Chaplin film, film shorts, newsreel, and Four Minute-Man performance; music performed by Jay Warren, Chicago’s foremost Photoplay organist.


Veteran Recognition Survey

Exterior of the Memorial Union Building

Do you have a suggestion or idea? Submit them via this one-question survey.


Army ROTC Alumni Keynote Speaker

Michigan Tech alumnus Maj. Joseph Cannon, an infantry officer with the Michigan Army National Guard, was the keynote speaker at the City of Troy, Michigan’s Memorial Day ceremony Monday (May 28).

Cannon was commissioned from the Army ROTC at Michigan Tech in 2003. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.



ROTC Commanders Complete Their Time at Tech

image109785-persThis spring, the commanders of both the Army and Air Force ROTC detachments will complete their tours of duty on the Michigan Tech campus.

Lieutenant Colonel Adam Melnitsky arrived in 2013 to direct the Army training program, while Major Jason Engler took over the Air Force detachment a year later. It is unusual for both commanders to depart at the same time, although regular rotations are part of the plan for all military officers.

It is a bit more out of the ordinary that both will retire from their services after twenty years on active duty. The College of Sciences and Arts is marking their retirement from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday (April 24) in the conference room in the ROTC Building.

Melnitsky entered the Army after completing the ROTC program at Norwich University in New York in 1997, and served in a number of positions with the First Cavalry Division, before serving in a recruiting position in Salt Lake City and in the Boston Military Entrance Processing Station. Subsequently he deployed to Iraq in 2008 and again in 2011 — the latter with one of the last units in Iraq.

Engler joined the Air Force through ROTC at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Phoenix, with a degree in space studies. He began his career as a “missileer” at Vandenberg and later served as a missile officer at an ICBM base in Montana.

Among his later appointments was time at NORAD headquarters in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. The connection to space remained a part of Engler’s efforts in various Air Force staff assignments before coming to Tech.

Bruce Seely, dean of the College of Sciences and Arts said, “Adam and Jason have been marvelous leaders of the ROTC units under their command, which at times can be a difficult task of serving the Army, Air Force and the University — they have done so with distinction. Both have academic appointments to match their military rank — Adam as Professor of Military Science and Jason as Professor of Aerospace Studies. The length of their appointments was longer than the normal two-year tour, which was a good thing for Tech and for the cadets, as we gained additional stability from the continuity of their leadership. We will miss their steady hands and commitment to training the next generation of military officers.”

Melnitsky and his wife Teresa intend to move to Salt Lake City, while Engler and his spouse Leah (who works as a grants analyst in the Sponsored Programs Office) are heading to Arizona to launch a brew pub.

Both couples say they’re excited at the prospect of having their own homes.

We extend best wishes from everyone at Michigan Tech to them and their families in their future endeavors, as they transition from military to civilian life.


Army/Air Force ROTC Cross Country Ski Race Saturday

ROTC_Ski20150327_0022On Saturday (March 18) the two great ROTC programs here at Michigan Tech will compete head-to-head at the Tech Trails to prove which group of cadets has the most stamina and, dare I say it — tenacity — to survive winter and come out on top.

Blair Orr of the Nordic Ski Club has enthusiastically offered to host a cross-country ski race, a 2.2K paired sprint, classic style, beginning at 12:15 p.m. The Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC programs are both very successful, dedicated and proud, as well as intense friendly rivals. The mood promises to be exciting as the cadets give their best effort to prove their mettle in the (hopefully) waning days of winter.

The public is welcome to attend and cheer for their favorite service.