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The Army ROTC has a staff of 11, with 9 full-time military personnel and 2 civilians. The Air Force ROTC staff includes 5 military personnel and 2 civilians. ROTC cadets are trained in military history and deportment, in addition to their chosen majors. Cadets are also charged with running their Army or Air Force Corps, under the guidance of teachers, who are called the cadre. "We teach and train leadership," Eldridge says. "We do it by not only talking about it, but by putting cadets in roles and positions where they actually lead other cadets."|
Joshua Feldmann '98, who graduated in May with a civil engineering degree from the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science, served as corps commanderthe highest ranking cadetin his last semester in the Army ROTC. He sees ROTC as a positive experience, one that should "always be welcomed on campus."
I got into ROTC because the scholarship was so good," Feldmann says. "It turns out there's so much more that it has to offer, which is why I stuck with it. I love itI love the leadership opportunities it provides." For a cadet, one of the important factors in learning leadership skills is the professionalism of ROTC staff. "The cadre are the guiding force of ROTC," Feldmann says. "The battalion is cadet run, but there needs to be some guidance because cadets come in with no military experience. The cadre are all on active duty and are always there if you need advice. They're all very personable."
ROTC isn't all drilling and saluting and no fun, Feldmann notes. There are many social functions for cadets to enjoy. "Some are sponsored by the Army, such as the military ball that is open to military personnel and their dates," he says. "There is also what's called dining in, for cadets only. It is our shared dining time. We've had ski trips, white-water rafting trips, and cookouts. There is a lot of camaraderie in the corps."
In celebration of the ROTC's 80th anniversary at SU, the corps plans a number of activities, including a military ball to be held on Parents Weekend in October.
Andrea Parini '98, a math major in The College of Arts and Sciences, served as wing commander for the Air Force ROTC this past semester. The wing commander is always a senior and those vying for the position must submit a letter of intent and be interviewed and selected by the cadre. "Our cadet corps is set up as a wing would be on an Air Force base," Parini says. "We have four groups, and within the groups there are squadrons. Within the squadrons, there is staff. Each semester we change positions. The wing commander has to choose staff to fill in all the positions."
It's a big job, Parini admits, but an invaluable part of her training to become an Air Force officer. "It's a really good experience, a way to test your leadership skills," she says. "It's a lot of responsibility; the wing commander is responsible for everything that goes on. Upper classmen are charged with training the underclassmen, to get them ready to go to camp in the summer of their junior year. It's hard to describe how much I've learned in the past four years."
With graduation from SU and commissioning as an Air Force second lieutenant, Parini has begun flight school training to become a pilot.
Women were not permitted to go directly from college to flight school when astronaut Eileen Collins '78 was an SU Air Force ROTC cadet. That rule changed toward the end of her senior year and Collins became one of the first women chosen for flight school immediately upon graduation. "I wanted to fly and I wanted to go into the Air Force from the time I was about 15 years old," says Collins, now a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force and the first female space shuttle commander. "I joined the ROTC because I wanted to be part of the military; I wanted to be an officer."
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