Iraq – ROTC Response

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Apr 222004
 
Authors: Chris Kampfe

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

enrollment.

“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

freedom.”

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

(historical conflicts).”

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

called upon.

“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

country.”

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.”

CAMPBELL

“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.”

ORTNER

“We’ll go over current events every day,” said cadet major Sarah

Ortner. “They (instructors) don’t deviate from what you need to be

taught.”

She feels the two campuses are different in the fact that Ft.

Collins campus has shown more disapproval of the conflict.

MUELLER

ARMONDA

“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.

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