Kayla Trogstad of Chatfield, at left, was recently promoted to second lieutenant at a ceremony held at Viterbo University in La Crosse. She received the traditional “silver dollar salute” from her father, Ret. Army Master Sergeant Rick Trogstad.
Kayla Trogstad of Chatfield, at left, was recently promoted to second lieutenant at a ceremony held at Viterbo University in La Crosse. She received the traditional “silver dollar salute” from her father, Ret. Army Master Sergeant Rick Trogstad.
Rick Trogstad gave his daughter a silver dollar, but no currency.

Kayla was in it for the lieutenant change.

"The silver dollar salute is a newly promoted lieutenant's first salute given by an enlisted soldier," explained Chatfield resident and retired Army master sergeant Rick Trogstad. He shared how he was able to honor his daughter, a 2008 graduate of Chatfield High School, at her commissioning to second lieutenant during a ceremony held at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis., on Dec. 15.

Trogstad and his wife, Gina, were proud to witness their daughter graduating from cadet to lieutenant.

"She completed her training through the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) with the Eagle Battalion located at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She will be assigned as a platoon leader in an Army Reserve chemical company located in Arden Hills, Minn. She also received her degree in psychology the same day from Viterbo."

Kayla hadn't always planned to be in the service, but according to Rick, "She shares a lot of her father's ideas and likes, and once she was in ROTC, she knew the Army would be a good fit."

Kayla was an active Chatfield High School student, finishing high school as secretary of the class of 2008.

"She was involved in high school softball and loved the sport - she was a captain on the team when Chatfield went to state playoffs in 2008. She has loved music and was selected in high school to sing in Dorian Festival at Luther College and was an All-State Choir singer."

Her career has since taken its direction from her passion for helping others. Now employed full-time with South Metro Mental Health, she is continuing her higher education and working to complete her masters and doctorate degrees in psychology.

"She has always wanted to be a doctor of some sort, and she is on her way in psychology," Rick shared. "In college, she completed several internships at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital and in La Crosse through Gundersen Lutheran Hospital. She also competed in several squad competitions as a cadet at Fort McCoy, Wis."

Rick was pleased and excited that his daughter earned the commissioning to lieutenant. "For me, it was to see her follow in my footsteps with the military," he admitted. "As a father, I could not have been more proud of what she has achieved over the past four years. College alone is a work load, but she was able to balance ROTC and college and still work a part-time job."

He especially was honored to present his daughter with her awards, though doing so did take some work on his part.

"When Kayla asked me to give her her first salute as an officer during her commissioning, I was extremely honored. It is a huge step to go from a cadet to a commissioned officer and I was going to be that enlisted man that gave her that first silver dollar salute," Rick said. "I had been retired from the Army for nearly seven years but made it a point to get back in my Army blues to make this event happen - I owed that to her because she worked so hard the past four years."

Rick would like others to know Kayla is a person of excellent character.

"I know my daughter well and knew that when this day came that it was huge honor for her, but she did not show it. She is a very humble young lady and is very respectful of everyone," Rick said, so this is the reason he wanted to share this story with the area community. "She is not the kind of person that will brag or boast about her achievements...someone else would have to do that for her."

Finally, "Nothing ever seems to bother her," Rick concluded. "She's learned discipline, motivation and teamwork and that with hard work and determination, you can succeed in meeting your goals."