Military tradition still alive

Ann Kopecky

Ann Kopecky

Senior Jeri Hetzel was drawn to the motivation of the people when she joined the military program on campus.

Following in his father’s footsteps and fulfilling a requirement for a four-year scholarship, freshman Jacob Lundeen is currently working on contracting into the program.

Freshman Carolyn O’Connor is taking 100 level military science courses with plans of contracting next year.

Hetzel, Lundeen and O’Connor have set their goals high and their minds to a well-established program on campus.

The program is the Reserved Officers’ Training Corp, otherwise known as ROTC, and it’s drawing new students each year.

With 150 students currently enrolled in the 100 level courses, the SDSU ROTC program maintains a rich tradition that dates back to the establishment of the college.

Since the beginning in 1884, military instruction has been part of the curriculum at SDSU. Today, almost 120 years later, students continue to take military science courses.

Hetzel, a native of Powell, Wyo., has been in ROTC for four years and is currently a recruiter for the program.

“You get a lot of pride out of it. It’s more about learning about the army,” Hetzel said.

Learning about the army is one reason many students take the courses. Others choose the courses because they are free.

“I initially got into it as a freshman because it was free,” Jerry Jorgensen, Dean of the College of Arts and Science, said. “After taking a few of these classes, I decided this was something I’d like to do.”

The 100 and 200 level ROTC classes are free to students who are just interested in learning about the army. There are no books to buy for the courses and the classes count towards humanities credits.

“A lot of people take it just for that and since it’s free, it’s perfect,” Hetzel said.

The 100 level courses, also known as MSI, is a one hour class each week that teaches basic military commands, how the military works and leadership skills.

O’Connor, a pharmacy major from Burbank, S.D., is currently taking Introduction to Leadership.

“It’s good exposure once you learn more about the army and what it does for the nation,” O’Connor said.

While some students want to find out more about the army, other students are continuing the education they have received at home.

Lundeen, a computer science major from Augusta, Ga., is taking 100 level courses to fulfill a four-year scholarship and to continue his education he has received from his father, who is in the military.

“Army is what I know,” Lundeen said. “It’s nothing new to me and I enjoy it.”

In the 200 level, MSII, students learn how to solve problems and about the styles of leadership.

“MSI and MSII are good,”

Cadet Battalion Commander Dan Klimisch said. “It gives people an idea of what the military is about.”

Klimisch, a senior psychology major from Yankton, S.D., also said the program is a good G.P.A. booster and a chance to learn about leadership.

“I think it’s a good program because it teaches you really good leadership abilities,” Klimisch said.

After MSI and MSII, a commitment is required to take further military science education.

“To be MSIII, you have to be contracted,” Hetzel said.

According to Hetzel, contracting can also occur during MSI or MSII. During MSIII, the student applies everything he or she has learned in actual drills and military exercises.

Field exercises, repelling, land navigation and training for the National Advanced Leadership Camp are just some of the exercises MSIII students participate in.

In MSIV, the students are set in charge of a staff position. Both Hetzel and Klimisch are completing their duties in MSIV this year. Their goal is to reach the final level at MSV and to be commissioned or sworn in as an officer.

Besides the courses in military science, the program also offers a wide range of activities from meetings and camps to physical training exercises and games.

ROTC also provides money, such as scholarships, stipends and family benefits, to students who contract.

“Once the cadet has decided this is something they’d like to do, they’ll get money for school,” Klimisch said. “They pay for most or for all of your school, but it’s an obligation.”

To some students the time spent in the military seems like just an obligation, to others the time spent is well spent.

“For me, ROTC provided me the basics of leadership and management,” Jorgensen said. “For those who want to have a career in the military this is a marvelous way to get their commission and serve their country in a leadership role.”

“Military is part of our society,” Jorgensen said.

#1.887729:80629125.jpg:solider.jpg:Cadet Heath Abraham (MSIV) assists Cadet Adam Sokolowski (MSIII) with rappelling ropes at fall FTX in Fort Ripley, Minn.: