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Rear Adm. Guadagnini to Speak at Spring Commissioning Ceremony

A naval commander with prior experience as a fighter pilot, as well as previous service as a carrier strike group leader and liaison between the secretary of defense and Congress, will be the guest speaker at the spring commissioning ceremony for the Old Dominion University Army ROTC unit and Naval ROTC, Hampton Roads, unit.

Rear Adm. Mark D. Guadagnini, deputy commander for Fleet Management and chief of staff, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (Research, Development and Acquisition), will speak to 75 soon-to-be officers at the ceremony, which begins at 2 p.m. Friday, May 4, at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

ODU President John R. Broderick, Norfolk State University President Tony Atwater and Hampton University President William R. Harvey will also give remarks, as will ROTC local commanding officers Lt. Brian Kerns and Capt. Thomas Halley.

Guadagnini graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1980. Operationally, he has served as a division officer in Attack Squadron VA-65, on the staff of Carrier Air Wing 8 as head landing signal officer and strike operations officer, as head of the safety and maintenance departments in VA-65, and as operations officer for Carrier Strike Group 8. He commanded Strike Fighter Attack Squadron 15 from 1997-98 and Carrier Air Wing 17 from 2004-05. During these tours he operated from the decks of 12 different aircraft carriers, participating in combat operations Desert Storm, Provide Comfort, Deliberate Force, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

His shore duty assignments included three years as a test pilot and instructor at the Naval Test Pilot School, a legislative fellowship in the U.S. Senate, and service as an aide and flag lieutenant in the Bureau of Naval Personnel and on the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet staff in Hawaii. Guadagnini also worked as a liaison between the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the U.S. Congress, and served in the Navy Personnel Command as the division director for Aviation Officer Distribution.

Sixty-two officer candidates from ODU will be commissioned at the May 4 ceremony, and will report to Army and Navy postings around the world. Since the Naval ROTC Unit, Hampton Roads, encompasses the entire region, 10 HU cadets and three from NSU will also be commissioned at the ceremony.

Commissioning ceremonies graduate ROTC Army and Navy cadets into the officers' corps. In addition to the ceremony held in conjunction with ODU's May commencement, a joint ROTC commissioning ceremony is held in December for fall graduates.