Rick Dehlinger, Class of 1993, to Speak at MMA Commencement 2023

Rick Dehlinger, Class of 1993, to Speak at MMA Commencement 2023

The 134th Missouri Military Academy (MMA) Corps of Cadets will celebrate commencement on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at 10 a.m. in Centennial Gymtorium on the MMA campus. A graduate of MMA’s Class of 1993, Richard Dehlinger will deliver the commencement address. A U.S. Navy veteran, Dehlinger currently serves as the Academy’s deputy commandant for support and quartermaster. He is also the coach for the Armed Fusileer Drill Team who recently won the 2023 national championship for overall armed drill at the Rocky Mountain Drill Classic National Championship in Denver, Colorado.

This year, 33 seniors and two post-grads will take part in the commencement ceremonies. The MMA Corps of Cadets annually achieves 100 percent college acceptance. The Class of 2023 has been offered more than $4.7 million in college scholarships.

Dehlinger entered MMA as a sophomore, and while attending the Academy, he was a member of several cadet organizations, including color guard and glee club. By senior year, he had been selected as the battalion commander (BC), the highest ranking cadet in the corps. At graduation, he was honored with the Superior Cadet and JROTC Distinguished Achievement awards, plus the Don Hooten Fellowship Cup, which recognizes the cadet senior declared the most valuable to the institution.

Dehlinger’s stepson, Blake Morais, will graduate with MMA’s Class of 2023. Thirty years after his stepfather was a senior at MMA, Morais holds the position of Battalion S-4, the same position at which Dehlinger began his senior year.

After graduating from MMA, Dehlinger attended St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before leaving college to serve as a submariner in the U.S. Navy. He spent 10 years on the Trident Nuclear Submarine and served on the USS Tennessee 734 Gold (a nuclear submarine). Dehlinger was awarded two Navy Achievement Medals, a Battle Efficiency ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Additionally, he was awarded the Submarine “Dolphins” Warfare pin, a Nuclear Deterrent Patrol pin with 7 stars and Sailor of the Quarter Award. He also participated in the Centenary Submarine Celebration for the Royal Navy in Faslane, Scotland. With just under 10 years of service, he was honorably discharged as a Petty Officer Second Class. While on shore duty, he also served as an auxiliary security patrol for the base military police unit.

After his naval service, Dehlinger went on to earn his Bachelor of Applied Science in Digital Media and Graphic Design from Florida State College in Jacksonville. Dehlinger served as the director of marketing for the Jones Technical Institute in Jacksonville before returning to MMA in 2018 as the director of cadet activities.

In addition to serving as the deputy commandant for support and quartermaster, Dehlinger also serves as MMA Fusileer drill team coach. Under his leadership, in 2021, the Fusileers placed first in the nation in Armed Regulation at the All Service Nationals Master Level and first in the nation for Armed Color Guard for both the All Service Nationals Master Level and the US Army Drill National Championship. In 2022, competing against approximately 70 schools and roughly 1500 cadets, the MMA Fusileers finished fourth in the nation in the armed masters division and Cadet Michael Machary-Pagan earned first place in the nation for armed commander.

In 2019, Dehlinger was instrumental in restarting the Scouting program at MMA and served as Scoutmaster for MMA's Troop 1889 for three years.

In his free time, Dehlinger is an avid golfer and a repeat competitor in the National Long Drive Golf Contest in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He placed fifth in his age bracket at the World's Ultimate Long Drive Competition in Bradenton, Florida, competing against golfers from 17 different countries, and he has won MMA’s Long Drive Contest during homecoming/alumni weekend for three years in a row.

Following MMA tradition, the corps will conduct final formation on MMA’s front campus following the 10 a.m. commencement ceremony on Saturday. Baccalaureate services will take place the day before, on Friday, May 19 at 5:00 p.m. in MMA’s Memorial Chapel, immediately followed by a senior banquet to be held at 6:00 p.m. in Centennial Gymtorium.

Cadet News

MMA Cadets Earn Medals at 46th Military School Band & Choir Festival 

Missouri Military Academy (MMA) band and choir competed in the 46th Military School Band & Choir Festival, held February 16-18 at Virginia Military Institute. Accompanied by Pipe Major Stuart Mackenzie, Choir Director Ted Brauker, Band Director Brad Smith and Activities Director Elliot Goodwin, the cadets performed well, earning several medals for their performances. 

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