Army ROTC members use their array of skills on and off campus

Sara Bertsch News Editor

In addition to the many weeks of training, SDSU’s Army ROTC holds several events throughout the year on and off campus for their cadets and new recruits. 

Cadets were welcomed back last semester by completing an Army Physical Fitness Test. They also have the opportunity to qualify with their M-16 rifle and test their physical ability in a five-mile road march with 30 pounds of gear, said Aaron Schultz, professor of military science. 

 Once a semester, cadets go to Camp Ripley in Minnesota for training. There they are tested on their map-reading skills.

 “Many times you probably saw our cadets running around campus very early in the morning as part of the physical fitness program.” Schultz said. 

 The cadets also provide ushering and color guard duties at all home football games. The semester ended with a cadet Christmas party, which featured an ugly sweater contest. They also commissioned two new lieutenants at the end of the semester. 

 In addition to these events, cadet Elizabeth Kolar added that there is a military ball in the fall, along with bingo fundraisers at the VFW and recruiting at events on and off campus.

 With the many events that the ROTC does, the cadets also must train throughout the semester. Kolar said that they have physical training three mornings a week, a leadership lab once every month and a combat survival test once a semester. 

 “The hardest thing I experienced during my four years in the Army ROTC program was making the adjustment to a completely new schedule consisting of very early mornings and some late nights for training, along with the demands of my classes,” said cadet Cole Doherty.

 After all the Army ROTC requirements are completed and the cadet receives their degree from SDSU, they must serve the U.S. Army for eight years, Schultz said. They attend one of sixteen Army branch schools to learn their specific military branch. The class ranges from 10 to 20 weeks. 

   “I wanted to be able to serve my country and have a career as a nurse as well. Army ROTC will allow me to do this,” Kolar said.

 Kolar was able to travel to Thailand this past summer through the Army Cultural Understanding & Language Program where she taught English to cadets at their military academy. 

Cadets also have the opportunity to become Airborne or Air Assault qualified by attending specific schools that teach these skills. Many internships are also available through the Army ROTC to help cadets in nursing and engineering fields. 

The SDSU Army ROTC was recognized as a formal program in 1916, according to Schultz. It is designed to teach leadership to cadets and help them become second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army, Army National Guard or Army Reserve. 

 “I joined ROTC because it is the best way to earn a commission in the Army while also working towards a college degree. It is the only program on campus that truly develops leadership traits,” said Cadet Battalion Commander Kyle Cooper.

According to Schultz, each cadet learns many skills and becomes efficient with land navigation, first aid, weapons, physical fitness and military tactics. Schultz added that the ultimate goal is leading a platoon for the U.S. Army.

“The best part of my job is sharing my experiences to these fine young men and women … The Army ROTC cadre is here to help mentor, teach, and coach the cadets.” Schultz said.