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Center Facilitates Virtual Ceremony for Navy Promotion

Dec 1 2007

The Center for Educational Technologies helped the family of a Wheeling Jesuit University graduate take part online in his promotion ceremony to commander in the U.S. Navy.

Former Glen Dale, WV, resident and 1990 Wheeling Jesuit University graduate, Thomas J. Welsh LCDR, Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Navy, was promoted to the rank of commander on Nov. 30.

Because the official ceremony was held at Naval Surface Forces headquarters in San Diego, Welsh's parents, James and Rosemary, and mother-in-law, Nila Braden, were unable to attend. However, his alma mater was honored to solve the distance problem and bring the family together via videoconference on this important occasion.

The university transmitted the proceedings in a virtual ceremony beamed to the Center for Educational Technologies and coordinated by Don Watson, video support service manager at the center. The ceremony was displayed on the 10-foot by 12-foot screen in the Discovery Center room for his family to enjoy.

"Traditionally, officers have been promoted in front of their co-workers, family and friends. Unfortunately, my parents and other family were unable to travel to San Diego for the ceremony," said Welsh. The ceremony was followed by a reception, hosted by the university.

Welsh is a member of the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps and served on the staff of both commanding generals of the multinational force in Iraq, initially Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and now Gen. David H. Patreaus. He held the position of chief legal advisor on detention operations in Iraq.

In fact, his wife gave birth to their fifth child while Welsh was assisting the general in charge of detention operations in the turnover of former dictator Saddam Hussein to the government of Iraq.

Welsh is a 1993 graduate of the Duquesne University School of Law and is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and is admitted to the bar for the federal district court in the Western District of Pennsylvania, the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

He was commissioned in December 1991 and has served in a variety of legal positions in the Navy. In June he will report to Commander, Region Legal Service Office in Naples, Italy, and assume the duties as the director of international law and civil law.

Welsh's personal awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (four awards).

He is married to the former Susan Braden of Moundsville, and they have five children: Forrest, Braden, Katherene, Frances, and August.