ROTC cadets gain professional work experience

Hanna Parent

Hanna Parent

After graduation, many SDSU graduates go off into the world in search of their careers. Some cadets from the Army and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, however, attain a career right after graduating.

Six Army cadets will be commissioned into the U.S. Army as second lieutenants on May 8 and seven Air Force cadets will be commissioned into the U.S. Air Force, also as second lieutenants, on May 9.

“Time and time again these cadets have exhibited tremendous leadership growth and maturity, which will be catalysts to success as future Air Force officers,” said Lt. Col. Dana “Pete” Nielsen, Air Force ROTC Commander. “One aspect that really sticks out for me is the fulfillment of excellence in all they do, or in this case, have done.They’ve dedicated an exhaustive amount of time and energy to the community, academics and military training.”

Cadet Maj. Chris Richardson, AFRTOC, said he is excited to be commissioning into the Air Force.

“It’s a goal I’ve worked at for a long time, and I’m glad it’s finally here,” said Richardson, an economics major.

“We all worked hard to get where we are,” said AFROTC Cadet 1st Lt. Steve Benthal. “This is one of the biggest accomplishments of our lives, and I’m proud of every single one of [these cadets],”

“Being an officer [in the military] calls you to live your life a little differently than most,” said Richardson. “When I hear the National Anthem played at a football or basketball game, I am reminded that we are going to be part of something bigger than ourselves and are committing our lives to protecting the American way of life.”

“Receiving a commission is a very honorable event,” Cassandra Kotten, an Army ROTC cadet and biology major.

Although receiving her nursing degree this August and being a part of SDSU’s honor society is exciting, Kotten said her proudest moment will be receiving her commission.

“We have grown professionally in the past couple of years. Some of us entered the program as very timid individuals and now we are all strong, determined leaders,” said Kotten.

“As a prior enlisted soldier I can see the quality of the individual when wearing the uniform and I can honestly say my cohorts are all individuals who possess the character, knowledge and skills to be officers in the United States Army,” said Cadet Lucas Schiebe, AROTC, regarding fellow commissioning cadets.

Many of the cadets said they are nervous to adapt to a military career.

“It seems like just yesterday we were starting out as little college freshmen, all nervous and not knowing what to expect,” said Cadet Cpt. Meggan Jacobsma, AFROTC. “I am most nervous about entering the real world. In a way, you enter it a little bit like coming to college ? but you really do not get the full effect I think until after college,” said Jacobsma.

Confident in her fellow cadets, Jacobsma said, “I think now we are ready to conquer what is ahead of us.”

Being a fifth-year mechanical engineering student, Benthal is reluctant to leave the college life but is excited to start a new career as an Air Force engineer.

“I will be sad to leave SDSU because it has been an awesome ride,” said Richardson. “Becoming a Jackrabbit is one of the best things I have ever done.”