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ROTC provides leadership training for success

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Photo courtesy of UCCS ROTC
Photo courtesy of UCCS ROTC

Colorado State University-Pueblo students have the opportunity to join Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps to not only earn college credit but to also participate in leadership courses as a part of a college curriculum that leads to a career of merit and honor.

Professor of Military Science, Maj. Noble Turner, was selected for his position leading the ROTC program at CSU Pueblo in fall 2015. Turner also works with cadets at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

“This is a nominated position so you have to go and compete and be selected in order to work with the ROTC program,” Turner said.

Students that wish to participate in ROTC can talk to a recruiter first and will then be evaluated to make sure they meet all the physical and medical requirements.

“There is a lot of administrative paperwork that must be done so students must first talk to a recruiter on campus or start the application process online,” Turner said.

Students work with recruiters in order to find the best fit in the ROTC program.

“Students can come in as a freshman in college and try it out to see if they might want to make the decision to be contracted into the program,” Turner added.

Cadets in the ROTC program have a slightly different daily routine than the usual college student. Cadets start out doing physical training Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. They must also meet the requirements of being physically fit just like they are required to in the army.

“We have the cadets about 9 hours a week. We use that opportunity to develop leaders to lead the younger cadets in exercising and making PT plans and monitor their progress,” he added.

After students finish their physical training they have in class instruction which teaches them the basic army doctrines. Cadets learn effective communication, army terminology, methods, processes and systems to become successful leaders. Cadets also study cultures, ethics and specific military writing skills.

“We have a broad range of things we learn in class to develop these cadets to be leaders,” Turner said.

Cadets then participate in labs on Thursdays where they are able to apply some of the things they learn in class.

“We put the cadets into scenarios where they can go out and make decisions based on what they learned in class,” Turner said.

Some of the scenarios involve tacticals, where students demonstrate how to move formations.

Retention rates fluctuate in the ROTC program because students are able to try it out with no initial commitment. However, many ROTC cadets graduate as leaders in their field and go on to be leaders in the Army.  According to the Mountain Ranger Newsletter, 21 percent of graduating seniors from the UCCS/CSU-Pueblo program are in the top 10 percent of active duty national order of merit list.

Also, 42 percent of graduating seniors from the UCCS/CSU-Pueblo program are national distinguished military graduates, and 74 percent of graduating seniors from the program received their first branch choice. One hundred percent of graduating seniors from the program are receiving either their first or second branch choice.

Dante Parker, a graduating senior from CSU-Pueblo  joined ROTC because of his family’s military background.

“It is a good opportunity to get my degree and get some solid work experience and build skills that I can use in the real world when I graduate and get out of the military as well,” Parker said.

After graduation, Parker plans on attending graduate school in Washington as well as becoming a member of the Army Reserve.

“My favorite part about ROTC would be the interaction with the cadets, especially when you’re in the position to conduct a lot of the training with them and give them your experiences based off of what I’ve learned in my four years here,” said senior Joshua Serna.

Senior at UCCS, Paige Atkinson was formerly a non-commissioned officer in the army and decided to take the “green to gold” route and attend college to become an officer.

“This was a decision to further my career path and a different level of leadership in the army. In ROTC, they don’t just expect you to just go to school just to be in the army, they expect us to be scholars, athletes and leaders,” Atkinson said.

For more information on the ROTC program at CSU Pueblo visit http://chass.colostate-pueblo.edu/ROTC/.