ROTC Air Force cadet Jennifer Mueller does not have to worry about finding a job when she graduates.
“It is an unbelievable relief,” said Mueller, a senior health and exercise science major. “As soon as I graduate, I’m commissioned and that day I start a career. I don’t know what I’m going to be doing, so it is still exciting.”
Students in CSU ROTC units can brag about much more than enjoying their senior year without the worry of how they will pay bills in the future.
“In four years (the ROTC will) take someone with no military experience and turn them into someone who will lead the most powerful military in the world,” said ROTC Army cadet Todd Habitzreuther, a junior microbiology major.
ROTC is a program that offers students of every background an opportunity to experience the military while receiving a college education. However, Air Force Col. Dennis Kaan said that students majoring in technological areas are more likely to receive ROTC scholarships.
“Right now we are particularly interested in technology, particularly students with meteorology, engineering and nursing majors,” he said.
After students complete their four years of training during college they are commissioned as officers in the United States Armed Forces and serve a minimum of four years active duty in the military.
“All activities are run by cadets,” Kaan said. “They organize, plan and execute. It gives them a leadership experience on running an organization.”
ROTC Air Force cadet David Lycan, a sophomore sociology major, feels he has gained incredible experience through ROTC’s Professional Development Training.
He flew a T38 Talon, which is used to train fighter pilots, and a Kc135 Tanker. The Kc135 Tanker is used in aerial refueling and airlift, according to www.militaryfactory.com.
ROTC is an active part of the campus, maintaining traditions such as the Army’s Bronze Boot Run and the color guard and canon crew at football games, said Army Lt. Col. Jackson Self with CSU ROTC.
Kaan also said the Air Force holds a Prisoner of War/Missing in Action day, a Sept. 11, 2001 remembrance and an annual salute to the Armed Forces every year on the Lory Student Center Plaza.
As a visual presence on campus, ROTC cadets wear their uniforms every Thursday for Leadership Lab. Habitzreuther feels that wearing his uniform is a high honor.
“You present yourself in a more professional manner because you are representing the Army,” he said. “I couldn’t think of a more atrocious crime than to dishonor all that has come before you.”
Overall, the cadets said they have found CSU to be a supportive campus. Especially after Sept.11 and recent military actions Army cadet Mary Beth Griffin, a sophomore political science major, said she received “a lot of comments saying ‘you look really nice in your uniform.’ ”
“We try to develop capable and confident leaders in any situation,” Self said. “What goes into that is morals, ethics, technological experience and the ability to deal with individuals. I know that as an officer of the Army I could die, yet it is worth taking that risk for the common good.”
Info box: Cadet Mueller said that the United States Air Force national average is 30% female, while the CSU Air Force ROTC is 42% female. Similarly, the CSU Army ROTC is an estimated 25% female, also higher than the national average. -20% female for United States Army