With the controversy surrounding the conflict in Iraq, it may be
difficult for many students to keep their opinions neutral and
their mouths shut. For some students, it is their duty to keep
composed. These students are cadets in the Reserve Officers’
Training Corps (ROTC).
Since the U.S. engagement in conflicts abroad, classes in the
Military Sciences and ROTC on campus have seen an increase in
“What I’ve noticed is that I had a greater enrollment this
semester,” said Al Armonda, an associate professor of military
sciences. “I see it as folks are interested in how the military
perceives and addresses the conflict.”
Armonda also attributes the increased enrollment to students
looking to get involved.
“I see a lot of students ask why our involvement is important,”
Armonda said. “Secondly they ask, ‘how can we help out, how does
this affect our future as citizens?”‘
To these questions Armonda emphasizes to his students the
importance of following the conflict.
“I tell them to stay up on current affairs,” Armonda said. “Read
as much as possible, read history, see how it repeats itself and
draw a contrast. Your best contribution is being informed.”
Some people are comparing the war in Iraq to the conflict in
Vietnam. While college and university campuses were hotbeds for
protest and often resented troops during the previous war, ROTC
students do not feel any resentment.
“I’ve always been treated with respect in uniform,” cadet major
Sarah Ortner said. “In contrast it goes the other way, we show
respect for everyone if they’re protesting the war, (because)
that’s why we’re fighting. We’re fighting to protect their
Ortner’s views are shared by other cadets.
“I’ve never had any negative reactions,” said cadet major
Jennifer Mueller. “Pretty much people will stop you and say ‘thanks
for serving our country.”‘
Armonda said he feels Fort Collins is a community that
understands the importance of a militia.
While the war in Iraq may have some government agencies changing
their agendas and priorities, students say that the ROTC program
has operated as usual.
“It’s mostly addressed as a broad thing,” said cadet Jonathan
Campbell. “We may address some of the ethics of what may go on over
there, but the curriculum is more broad based, addressing
April will be declared the bloodiest month of the Iraqi conflict
thus far, as the U.S. witnessed 106 deaths according to Reuters.
Despite this, ROTC students have chosen to stay committed to their
enrollment in the program, despite the increased chance of being
“Honestly that has never changed for me,” Mueller said. “My
pride has always been directed towards this country, because there
is always some sort of conflict. None of us want to go to war, but
we’ll be glad to do it for our country.”
Cadet Ortner also has maintained her position, and discarded any
doubt by stating, “Absolutely not. That’s why I’m here, to serve my
I edited these, make sure they get worked in or taken out before
saving for the web (or publishing)
“A soldier out of anybody doesn’t want to go to war, they do it
willingly,” Armonda said. “To defend our country, we do it.”
“When I started it (Iraqi conflict) hadn’t happened yet,”
Campbell said. “Maybe 9-11 a little, but this has always been a
goal of mine.”
“We’ll go over current events every day,” said cadet major Sarah
Ortner. “They (instructors) don’t deviate from what you need to be
She feels the two campuses are different in the fact that Ft.
Collins campus has shown more disapproval of the conflict.
“If there’s a fire, our cadets fight the fires to benefit the
community by volunteering,” said Al Armonda, an associate professor
of military science. “Our being here actually brings money on
campus by means of ROTC scholarships.”
“I think we’re blessed with a community here that understands
the importance of a militia,” Armonda said.