ROTC: earning a degree and training to serve


Life after high school is unknown; there are many other paths to take that do not involve college, yet one path combines the advantages of earning a degree, being relatively debt free and having a career after graduation.

Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is a way for people to make a career for themselves, provide structure in their lives, go to college to earn a degree in the field they choose and serve their country.

Men and women in Army ROTC pursue a degree in conjunction with their training. While it is tough to maintain a neat schedule, techniques used, such as time management, have made it possible to succeed in both college and Army ROTC.

“It is challenging,” said David Byers, a Franciscan University senior in legal studies and Spanish and a member of Army ROTC. “It requires a lot of time, getting up early for ROTC and staying up late for school, but the army will teach you time management.”

The people in Army ROTC are regular men and women; however, their schedule is a little different. Within the program there are required classes that build up leadership, ethics, communication, military skills and so much more.

But it is not all about the classroom skills. Army ROTC cadets train hard in the field as well as in the classroom. The physical requirements are challenging, with physical training (PT) three times a week.

The procedure for acceptance into the program requires a physical test, involving calisthenics as well as labs, which teach the basics of tactical movements.

“What it looks like from the outside is we’re all in uniform,” said Kristie Kelly, a junior nursing major and a member of Army ROTC. “We go out and perform tactical movements and recon missions, things you would do in combat. …The purpose is to teach you leadership and how to lead one of those movements.”

Franciscan in one of 9 satellite schools that are a part of the Three­Rivers Battalion stationed at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Franciscan University boasts of around 11 contracted cadets in Army ROTC.

Once an Army ROTC cadet graduates he or she goes to the Cadet Leadership Course (CLC) where he or she is assessed for placement rank. Where one is placed is based on how that person is ranked and the type of scholarship he or she received through the ROTC program.

One of the great advantages of the ROTC program is the scholarships given to help compensate the cost of college. It allows cadets to attend out­of­state schools and private schools, such as Franciscan University.

Being in Army ROTC as well as practicing the Catholic faith is entirely possible.

“You can get strength in faith as the one who stands out,” said Byers. However, the ambiance of the army can provide the opportunity for faith to wane if a person is not rooted in the Catholic principles, he said.

Another benefit to having Army ROTC on campus is the credit for classes. The classes taken for ROTC will earn members credit at the university. Since the transition from Pennsylvania, Franciscan ROTC students do not have to travel between schools as often. They do much of their training on Franciscan’s campus.

Army ROTC is one division out of several including Air Force ROTC, Navy ROTC and Marine ROTC. Franciscan University offers both Army ROTC and Air force ROTC.

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