Westpoint graduate to serve in the Philippine Army

The most recent Filipino graduate of the United States Military Academy (USMA) had the honor of receiving the rank insignia of second lieutenant from descendants of Brig. Gen. Vicente Lim, USMA’s first Filipino graduate, in a simple ceremony hosted by United States Service Academy alumni on June 23 at General Headquarters, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

2nd Lt. Reniel dela Cruz of USMA Class of 2019, who will be joining the Philippine Army, entered the Philippine Military Academy in 2014 where he was selected to undergo the four-year cadet training at West Point, New York.

He earned a degree in Nuclear Engineering, graduating with high academic honors. He was authorized to wear the Academic Star on his collar, a distinction reserved only for the most deserving cadets. He hails from Baybay, Leyte and was in the ROTC prior his entry to PMA. He participated in multiple sports as a cadet that included swimming, flag football, and basketball. He was his cadet company’s athletics officer, in charge of ensuring the fitness of his company mates as well as participation in intramural sport and physical development.

Together with two other graduates from the United States Naval Academy and United States Air Force Academy respectively, the newly-commissioned officers expressed their enthusiasm to begin their journey in the service of the nation.

Brig. Gen. Vicente Lim was the first Filipino graduate of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York in 1914. He also pioneered and paved way for the success of many scholars. Great-grandson Vicente Lim IV said: “As newly minted officers, it is our wish that you carry this symbol on your shoulders as a reminder of where you came from as you connect to the past when seeking guidance for the future.”

The second lieutenant insignia is an equilateral triangle with a Baybayin “K” in the middle and worn on the shoulders of Army officers. Its historical origin came from the Katipunan wherein Katipuneros wear the symbols in their garments and medallions to distinguish their ranks. PHILIPPINE ARMY