2018 marks the 68th Demon Battalion at Northwestern State University, and in a ceremony on Jan. 18, the Battalion welcomed Cadet Lt. Col. Taylor Andrews as its new commander.
The ceremony opened with recognition for past Army members who attended, as well as current faculty and staff before leading into honoring the United States. The honor portion consisted of the battalion presenting arms while an instrumental version of the national anthem played. Members of the audience also presented arms or put their hands over their hearts.
Andrews stood facing the battalion in the front of the ballroom, along with outgoing commander Cadet Michael Kingsley and Lt. Col. Katherine Carlson, a professor of military science. After honors, there was an invocation where the battalion and audience were led in prayer.
Then the three stood in front of the battalion to complete the rite of passage. This was a simple ceremony and consisted of passing the guidon, a flag that signifies the unit designation and corps affiliation. The guidon bearer passed the flag to Kingsley, down to Carlson and finally to Andrews. He then passed it to the Command Sgt. Maj. Karl Marzahl.
Cadet Savannah Carter said the following: “The guidon represents not only the lineage and honors of the unit, but also the loyalty and unity of the cadets. The guidon is the commander’s symbol of authority, representing his responsibilities to the organization.”
She then listed the responsibilities Andrews and Marzahl are expected to uphold. This includes leading and mentoring all cadets, “imposing sound feedback to the cadre” and showing compassion for all.
Carlson, Kingsley and Andrews closed with some remarks.
Carlson emphasized the battalion chose its leaders. The commander and command sergeant major were chosen by a panel of cadets, showing how important unity and trust is among the battalion members.
Themes of leadership were prevalent in Kingsley and Andrews’ speeches as well.
Kingsley directed his speech toward the seniors, asking them to help bring about positive changes they want to see in the future.
Andrews addressed the community and the staff to thank them for their support. He also outlined his idea for an integrated battalion staff that would allow cadets to collaborate and work together.
Finally, the ceremony closed with the audience joining the battalion in singing the Army’s official song to show their support.