The Online Edition

Special Dedication – Spring/Summer 2016

ROTC Dedication Honors Memory of Maj. Candice Adams Ismirle ’03



Candice Adams Ismirle gives her best friend Kyla Campbell a ride on their Wilkes 2003 graduation day. PHOTO COURTESY OF KYLA CAMPBELL

In the hallway housing Wilkes University’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 752, the image of a young woman, head tilted inquisitively toward the camera, peers from an acrylic plaque. Words on the sign announce this is the Maj. Candice Adams Ismirle Leadership Lounge and below it is a statement: “Choose to celebrate life rather than simply survive it.”

The words reflect the late Candice Adams Ismirle’s dauntless fight against an aggressive form of cancer.

Ismirle, a 2003 Wilkes graduate in communication studies, lost her battle to breast cancer in February 2016. A native of Brodheadsville, Pa., the late major was a member of the Air Force ROTC detachment. She received her commission as a second lieutenant at the time of her graduation from Wilkes. After her graduation, she


Ismirle and her husband, Ryan, hold their twin boys, Rafe and Ryder after their birth through a surrogate. PHOTO COURTESY OF KYLA CAMPBELL

enjoyed a distinguished career in the military as a public affairs officer.

The ROTC detachment honored her memory when it dedicated the lounge, located in the University Center on Main, on April 30. The event was held in conjunction with the detachment’s annual Dining Out event, which includes a banquet and special recognitions for cadets.

Ismirle’s husband, Lt. Col. Ryan L. Ismirle, who is a pilot, spoke at the program and her parents, Sgt. Maj. (retired) Michael Adams and Sandra Adams attended. The Ismirles have twin 18-month-old boys, Rafe and Ryder.

Lt. Col. John Baum, the detachment’s commanding officer, says it’s fitting to honor Ismirle’s memory.

“Detachment 752 is tremendously proud of Candice and her unwavering courage in the face of adversity. She personifies the Air Force Core Values of integrity, service and excellence while gracefully representing herself, Wilkes University, and the officer corps during her fight against cancer,” Baum said. “Candice raised the bar and set the standard that all cadets should strive to achieve. She is a shining example of leadership and her legacy will live on with through every cadet that passes through our halls.”

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One of the pink head scarves worn by Ismirle during cancer treatment and her fatigues are displayed in a shadow box at Air Force Detachment 752’s lounge at Wilkes. PHOTO BY VICKI MAYK

At the time of her medical retirement in July 2015, Ismirle worked at the press desk at Headquarters Air Force, the Pentagon. As a media operations officer for the People Team, she provided public affairs guidance to 11 commands worldwide, recommended media strategy to senior Air Force leadership and formulated media relations policy and guidance. In that role, she was responsible for covering some of the Air Force’s most sensitive issues such as sexual assault prevention and suicide awareness.

Prior to her work at the Pentagon, Ismirle taught the Department of Defense’s Defense Information School (DINFOS), where she trained more than 1,470 students from all U.S. military branches, select foreign nations, and Department of Defense agencies beginning in June 2009.

Ismirle was first diagnosed with breast cancer while teaching at the school. She courageously shared her story by co-producing an award-winning multi-media documentary, Pink Kisses, to raise awareness, all while undergoing treatment for her cancer and continuing to provide high-quality public affairs instruction. Following her diagnosis and treatment, she participated in a half-marathon. Even more amazing was the choice she and her husband made to become parents to their twin boys by having Ismirle’s cousin serve as a gestational surrogate.

Fellow 2003 Wilkes graduate Kyla Campbell, says such choices reflected her best friend’s dauntless spirit. “That was her to a T,” Campbell said. “Going forward and starting a family and doing things like that in the face of cancer was her way of saying, ‘I’m going to live my life and move forward.’ She never threw in the towel, ever. “