ROTC cadets learn their future

BY: Jon Helgren ’12

For 32 cadets at Pacific Lutheran University, the long four-year path to becoming Army officers is almost over. In mid-September, Cadet Command submitted the nation wide branch results for all fourth-year ROTC cadets. These results finally informed them which one of their chosen 16 sub branches of the Army they would be assigned.

In every leadership role cadets are in, they receive written evaluations which affect their future. All of their leadership evaluations are combined into an accessions packet. The concept is quite simple: The better you perform over your four years in ROTC, the better you have a say in your future in the Army. Cadets evaluations are not just based on military skill either. Physical fitness and school academics play a huge role in deciding their ranking in the nation.

“I plan to make a career out of the Army and stay in for 20 years,” said Senior Cadet Eric Gross, who was tasked in the reserves instead of the active army like he said he wanted. “I feel a little annoyed, but otherwise I’m alright. I’m trying to make the best of the situation.”

Cadets discovered the hard way that sometimes the needs of the Army are not always exactly the same as what cadets want to hear. The reasoning can be sometimes attributed to bad performance in leadership positions or academics. Other times, however, it’s just bad luck.

“I picked military intelligence, but ended up getting quartermaster – which just counts and stores equipment,” Cadet Sean Gates said with frustration. “I was initially not happy at all. It wasn’t the job I wanted to do. It didn’t interest me. It wasn’t even at the top of list of branches I wanted.”

Regardless of the outcome, ROTC instructors reminded cadets prior to the results that if they get the branch they want or not, they are serving the Army and should make the best of it and be proud. Sean Gates later explained: “I’ve done more research into my branch since and found some jobs within it that can keep me interested. Regardless, I’m ready to be a officer and be done with college.”

Since the initial announcement, the highs and lows of the results have worn off and cadets are accepting the news. For the rest of the year Senior cadets begin to reflect on how well ROTC has prepared them.

“I feel that ROTC has provided me with the foundational characteristics of officer ship in general,” Senior cadet Norris Potter said. “Wearing that gold bar is something that I’m thinking about all the time these days since were so close to being done,” he said with a smile.

It is obvious on a day to day basis that the ROTC class of 2012 is ready to walk past their professors and accept their diplomas. On graduation day, it will be evident who this small group of young men and women are. When they cross that stage they will walk a little taller and more confident than their fellow classmates, because they accomplished something few dared to do. They chose to to serve as officer in the United States Army.

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