Amid canceled ceremonies, Marine officer commissioned from family's backyard

A videoconference made it official as Skyler Grathwohl was sworn in as second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. The commissioning ceremony took place in her family's backyard in Mattituck, Suffolk County, earlier this month. 

"It's definitely not the same as being able to walk across the stage with my classmates and everything I've done the past four years with, but we're making the best of it," said Grathwohl, who just graduated from Norwich University in Vermont.

Because of restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a formal ceremony for cadets on campus was canceled.

Major William Grigonis, who led the Junior Reserve Officers Training program when Grathwohl was in high school, administered the oath.

"She's the first female from Mattituck High School to commission as a Marine Corps officer and the first female that I've ever commissioned in my 29 years as a Marine Corps officer," he said.

The surreal experience came full circle for Grathwohl, who said she was always inspired by Grigonis.

Her graduation from Norwich closes her four-year chapter of drive and dedication to become an officer in the Marines. In September, she'll begin rigorous officer training. Then Grathwohl hopes to continue on to flight school.

Her family members—honorary and immediate—were in awe of all she's accomplished.


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