Grandpa was never far away through the years, but rarely had he been closer than the few feet that separated him from his grandson on May 14.
On that day, at 1 p.m. in Omaha’s Memorial Park, retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Terrence L. Arndt, BSBA’58, administered the Army’s Officer Oath of Office to his grandson, Timothy M. Arndt, BS’21. It was a big moment for the newly commissioned Army second lieutenant, who says he always knew he would be sworn in by his grandfather.
“The oath is administered by an officer, or by a retired officer, and there was never a question in my mind that he would give me the oath,” Arndt says. “He was my inspiration to be at Creighton, and his sharing his experiences and seeing the parallels that we’ve had in our lives, it only made sense that he would be the one to give me the oath.”
Those parallels include graduation from Creighton University’s Army ROTC program, where the elder Arndt in 1958 began a military career that saw him earn a general’s star.
“I know my grandfather really well,” Arndt says. “I grew up with him about 10 minutes from my house. I went to his house after school a few times a week, he came to all my baseball games, he was just always there for me. We had almost a father-son relationship.”
Arndt says his grandfather, who grew up in Pierce, Nebraska, retired from the Army in 1989 after 31 years of service. Since that was some 11 years before Timothy was born, Arndt never knew the brigadier general as anything other than “grandpa,” and it was many years before he realized the significance of his grandfather’s achievement.
“I don’t think I realized it until a couple of years ago when we were at the 100th anniversary ceremony for Creighton’s ROTC and he was one of the special guests. They noted that Creighton ROTC has produced five soldiers who achieved a star or higher, and he was one of them. So that was pretty shocking to me.
“I knew he was special, and I knew that he was a great guy, I just didn’t realize how much work it takes, how much commitment, to achieve that rank.”
Having been sworn in, Arndt says he will train as an explosive ordnance disposal officer, more commonly known as a “bomb tech,” those brave souls who disarm explosive devices.
“I’m spending a couple of months in Kentucky, and then I’m going to Fort Lee, Virginia, for six months. Then I’ll head down to Eglin Air Force Base (Florida) to train at the Explosive Ordnance Disposal School.
“I wanted to do something that challenged me. I got my eye set on that and never really looked back,” he says.