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They march, they lead, they train and they’re disciplined, but Capt. Rody Lageson, admissions officer of Detachment 410, said the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps is more than just physical fitness.
ROTC gives students the opportunity to simultaneously train as a military officer and complete a degree.
Lageson said the core of the ROTC training program is leadership preparation, and one of the 82 Undergraduate cadets in Detachment 410 couldn’t agree more.
“Not only am I going to take away great leadership skills learned from ROTC, but also the friendships I’ve made,” Force Support Commander senior Charles Hulsizer said.
Sophomore Taryn Glynn said, “One of my friends Dillon Farley is in ROTC and I have seen what a great person and leader the program has made him. I think it’s a great way to go if you want to serve.”
The atmosphere the cadets want to create not only embodies strength, dedication, and leadership, but to them, it feels like a family.
“Everyone joins for different reasons, whether it’s family tradition or wanting to serve, but you stay for the people,” Cadet and Wing Commander senior Kate West said.
The cadets part of Detachment 410 this semester spend at least 10 hours a week together, Hulsizer said. They mature together and they struggle together, but, for him, it’s all worth it.
“It’s well worth the effort, and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Hulsizer said.
Freshman Bob McDaniel thinks otherwise. “I’ve heard about all the training and how much of a commitment it is. I wouldn’t be able to stay that dedicated.”
Every Monday night, all cadets have mandatory leadership lab in McCarthy Gym. This consists of basic training skills led by upperclassmen cadets. Here they gain leadership experience by running a structured training circuit, while the underclassmen learn the ropes.
“Underclassmen are there to learn basic skills,” Lageson said. “How to wear their uniform, how to march, how to hold the guidon. They don’t use or practice leadership skills as heavily as the upperclassmen.”
Not only do these cadets have commitment to Monday nights, they also have physical training three days a week at 6:30 a.m. They train to be in the best shape they can to ensure they pass their physical fitness test each semester.
Along with the expectation of high physical standards, the cadets are held to high moral standards.
“The cadets have to be mature … and integrity is something that is very important in our program,” Lageson said.
To West, living a life as an ROTC cadet means living in a community of future leaders that is constantly looking out for each other and pushing each other to the next level.
“If you have a support group like ROTC to get to the best version of yourself, what’s going to stop you?” West said.
Whitney Abrahamson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.