On June 3, General David Petraeus, the current Commander of U.S. Central Command, was on hand for the re-commissioning ceremony of two military officers who were being promoted to the rank of Captain—one in the Army and the other in the Air Force. Kyle Scherer ’09 and Nicholas Siler took their oaths in the Caspersen Room of Langdell Library.

Petraeus offered words of thanks for the widespread community support offered to those serving in the military, and encouragement for the two officers being promoted.

“Regardless of people’s views on decisions made in the wake of 9/11 and so forth, everybody seems to agree on one important thing – and that is to support the men and women in uniform and their families,” Petraeus said. “People who put on the uniform…are true gifts to us – and to our nation.”

U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan ’86, who was on campus to deliver this year’s Class Day remarks, also spoke at the ceremony. Joking that there are “fake generals and there are real generals,” Kagan said she was slightly embarrassed, since she was of the “fake variety.”

Kagan, who knew Scherer during her time as dean of HLS, praised his “commitment, passion, and energy.” She went on to discuss the connections between the legal academy and the military. Recalling her experience speaking to the graduating class at West Point last spring, Kagan praised those in the military for their great respect for the rule of law.

HLS Professor Noah Feldman, who helped to write the first Iraqi constitution after the U.S. invasion, served as master of ceremonies for the event.

Siler and Scherer, both graduates of Harvard College, were commissioned together after graduating in 2005, Siler as an Air Force Officer and Scherer as an Army officer. [photo at right]

Scherer currently serves as Counterintelligence Platoon Leader for the 223rd Delta Company Military Intelligence Division in the Massachusetts National Guard. He was recognized for his involvement in the HLS community with a Dean’s Award for Community Leadership during the Class Day exercises.

Next year, Scherer will be providing legal services to the Navajo and Hopi in the Four Corners region of the U.S. He will join the law firm of Simpson, Thatcher, and Bartlett as an associate in New York City in 2010.

Petraeus also participated in Harvard University’s ROTC commissioning ceremony, which took place earlier in the day in Tercentenary Theater.