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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Remarks at Captain Arensmeyer Retirement

Category: Regional
October, 2017
Heffner Alumni House

Captain Arensmeyer Retirement

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Welcome to all of our guests—but most especially to Captain Arensmeyer’s wife, Darcie, and his children—Jonathan, Morgan, and Allison.

Since 2012, we have had the great privilege, at Rensselaer, of having Captain Daniel Arensmeyer as the Commanding Officer of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at Rensselaer, and Professor of Practice of Naval Science. The Naval ROTC unit at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was commissioned in September 1941, three months prior to the attack at Pearl Harbor, as the first such unit in the state of New York.

Today, it also includes students at Union College and in the Nursing Program at Russell Sage College.

We are extremely proud of the young leaders we produce in our Naval ROTC unit, and Captain Arensmeyer, a superb role model and teacher, has educated and inspired many remarkable young men and women. His students have included…

  • Ensign Nicholas Huban of the Class of 2013, a Navy SEAL who completed basic underwater demolition school near the top of his class;
  • Ensign Stephen Bennett of the Class of 2014, who was honored that year as the top Navy ROTC graduate nationwide;
  • Second Lieutenant Katherine Boy of the Class of 2015, one of the first two women Marines in history to complete the Field Artillery Basic Officer Leader course. She graduated, by the way, 6th out of 137 in her class.

In all, Captain Arensmeyer has commissioned 91 students as Ensigns and Second Lieutenants in the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps.

Nearly a third of those students were commissioned into the Navy nuclear power program. Given how vital the approximately 90 nuclear powered ships and submarines are to the mission of the United States Navy, and to national security, we are very proud that Rensselaer is one of the leading universities in the nation in generating officers for the Nuclear Navy. And please note that among these officers are some of the pioneering women in the submarine force.

Of course, today, we are honoring Captain Arensmeyer for 28 years of service to our nation—only the last five of which were spent at Rensselaer. Captain Arensmeyer, who graduated with honors, and a degree in Aerospace Engineering, from the United States Naval Academy in 1989, spent much of his career as a submarine officer.

From 2002 to 2004, Captain Arensmeyer served as Executive Officer of the Los-Angeles-class attack submarine the U.S.S. Toledo, and completed two Mediterranean Sea deployments, including in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

From 2004 until 2006, he served the U.S. Strategic Command as Division Director for Space and Missile Defense Policy, and for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Policy. He then assumed command of the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, the U.S.S. Henry M. Jackson. He served next at Task Force 69 in Naples, Italy, as the Deputy Commander and Director of Submarine Special Operations.

As Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, I had the opportunity to go out to sea aboard the Los Angeles-class attack submarine, the U.S.S. Montpelier, and to land on, and spend time on, the aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. John C. Stennis. In as much as I have had the privilege to see, up close, the amount of responsibility placed in the hands of young sailors, and the Naval officers who command them, I am doubly appreciative of Captain Arensmeyer’s service to our country—first in the various deployments he has had, and secondly, as you can see, Captain Arensmeyer came to Rensselaer with a breadth and depth of experience that has benefitted our students immensely. Captain Arensmeyer—by his example, as much by his instruction—has prepared young men and women in the Rensselaer Naval ROTC unit to guide others with the same patriotism, honor, and compassion that he always has demonstrated throughout his life and career.

At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, our mission is crucially important: We educate the next generation of technologically adept young leaders in many fields.

However, educating military leaders is particularly important at this moment, given the shifting global order, new relationships among old allies, and the changing nature of war and peace, as threats arrive now from non-state actors, and from cyberspace.

This is what makes Captain Arensmeyer’s service here at Rensselaer so important to us. He has been a strong partner with us, in untold ways, in developing the young men and women in the Naval ROTC to be outstanding military leaders and outstanding citizens.

We need young people whose outlook is one of service and sacrifice, who stand ready to protect our nation, and whose courage inspires all the rest of us. We are very proud to have worked alongside Captain Arensmeyer in developing those young leaders.

So, on behalf of the entirety of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, I thank you, Captain Arensmeyer, for your service to us, to our sister schools in the Rensselaer Naval ROTC unit, and, most especially, to the United States of America. I congratulate you on your retirement, and wish you the very best in your new endeavors.

Thank you.