TUCSON, Ariz. – When the U.S. Military Academy held its graduation ceremony for the Class of 2011 at West Point, N.Y., on May 21, at least one cadet was unable to participate.
Matt Krembel was some 2,100 miles away from the annual festivities. In fact, the senior from Shalimar, Fla., was on the golf course. The four-time All-Patriot League (twice first team) selection was with his Army golf team, competing in the final round of the NCAA Southwest Regional at the Omni Tucson National Resort.
But that didn’t stop the two-time Army team captain from getting his bars as a second lieutenant.
After the third round, Krembel changed into his Army dress uniform and a special ceremony was held for him on the 18th green, where he was commissioned as an Army officer in front of a small group of family, friends and onlookers.
Krembel’s father, Dennis, a retired Air Force colonel who was attired in his dress uniform, gave a short speech and did the official swearing in, while his mother, Connie, and older sister, Meghan, each pinned a lieutenant bar on his shoulders. Cadet and golfing teammate Ethan Johnson was delivered the first salute.
“Right now, I have tears of joy,” Krembel said. “This is so very special. I know I’m missing graduation, but the way I look at it, the people I care about most are here today. To be here doing this with my family, my coach (Brian Watts) and my teammates means everything to me.”
Krembel said skipping the official graduation ceremony to participate in the regional was an easy decision.
“We (Army team) started the season together, and we all shared in our success and failure. I didn’t think it would be fitting that the team captain miss regionals.”
Krembel, who was medalist at the Patriot League Championship earlier this spring, finished play in the regional tournament tied for 67th while Army, which won its 10th Patriot League Championship, placed 13th.