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Cadet follows fallen father's footsteps

A Cameron University junior who knows what it means to be a Gold Star family member has elected to continue the journey begun by his late father, Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Allen Lowery.

At a contracting ceremony Monday before family, friends and fellow ROTC cadets, 21-year-old Sean Paul Lowery held up his right hand and swore to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. Lt. Col. Seth Hall, chairman of Cameron's Military Science Department, said the cadet has committed the next six years of his life, two in school and four on active duty in the U.S. Army.

"I just want to thank first and foremost God, and I want to thank my family and my support system and all the people who really helped to get me here," Lowery said.

He was 11 when his father was killed on Dec. 14, 2007, in Mosul, Iraq, while serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Jonathan Lowery was on foot patrol when enemy forces attacked his unit using small-arms fire. The 38-year-old NCO was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, III Corps, Fort Hood, Texas.

When asked what his father was like as a person, Sean Lowery said, "There's not really any words to compact his character down into. He was a really great guy. He really cared about his soldiers and everyone around him. He always held us  me and my brother  to the highest standard, expected the best out of us, and it kind of helped me be the man I am today. And I can never thank him enough for everything he's done for me."

He credits competing in ROTC's Ranger Challenge with helping him pass the physical training test that set the stage for Monday's contracting ceremony. Ordinarily, ROTC cadets have physical training at 6 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but those going out for the Ranger Challenge do it every weekday, so they got a little bit of extra work in. That's how he was able to improve his running time.

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