Alfred State ROTC members join in on opening ceremony of Cheez-It 355 at The Glen

Alfred State ROTC members join in on opening ceremony of Cheez-It 355 at The Glen

Alfred State students and ROTC members at Cheez-It 355 at The GlenMembers of the US Army ROTC program at Alfred State took part in the opening ceremony of the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Sunday, Aug. 9.

Serving as the color guard were Alfred State students and Cadets James Haveron (mechanical engineering technology, Falconer) and Jesse Cole (forensic science technology, Selden), along with Cadet Casey Kelly from Alfred University, and Spc. Cody Wells of the 222nd Military Police Company out of Hornell. The ceremony also included a patriotic American flag skydive and American Idol winner David Cook singing the national anthem. Driver Joey Logano won the race on a thrilling finish.

Derek Fuerch, an Alfred State forensic science technology major from Barker, said local National Guard recruiter and freshman ROTC Instructor Sgt. 1st Class William Ernest tasked him with reaching out to students about serving as color guard members at the Watkins Glen race. Fuerch would also have participated in the opening ceremony, but was at summer training in Fort Knox, KY, at the time.

“I was thrilled to hear we had the opportunity to be the color guard at the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen,” Fuerch said. “This was such an honor and a great way for people to hear about our program. The cadets did a great job and truly enjoyed themselves there.”

Haveron said, “We worked together, completed the task and presented our nation’s colors. A breathtaking moment was when the C-130 military transport aircraft took flight above us mid-anthem. After the anthem was done, we were greeted with amazing hospitality from the Jack Daniels company, which allowed us to watch the race from their tower. Overall, this was an experience unlike any other and honestly only the Army could have given us this.”

Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of Alfred State, said, “I am proud of our students who participated as color guard at the Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen earlier this month. We are honored to have an active and growing ROTC unit at Alfred State, and to have them as a vibrant part of our college community.”

For many years, Alfred State has had an agreement in place with the US Army, whereby students can take courses and training in military science during their college years, and upon graduation with a BS, BTech, or BBA degree in whichever major they choose, be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. Following Commencement, graduates have the unique opportunity to serve America as a commissioned officer in the Active, Guard, or Reserve forces, progressing through the ranks of first lieutenant and captain during that time.

The US Army ROTC program at Alfred State is an affiliate of the Seneca Battalion program headquartered at nearby St. Bonaventure University. Anyone interested in finding out more about the program should contact Jared Kausner by email at or by phone at 716-375-2568.