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Cadets in ROTC programs maintain academic & physical excellence while preparing to serve Story by Ryan Kierstan Beginnings always hide themselves in endings and with May just around the corner there is one thing on every college senior’s mind, graduation. For most, graduation represents the culmination of four years of hard work, late nights, and hours of studying. However, for a select few graduation also signifies the conclusion of four years as a cadet in the reserve officers’ training corps, ROTC, program. David Alonso is a Spanish and International Studies major, minoring in Sociology at Washington & Jefferson College. Alonso will be commissioning this year as a National Guard Military Intelligence Officer. As a National Guard Military Intelligence Officer Alonso will analyze information gathered and learned during missions to save soldiers’ lives fighting on the front lines, while also pursuing his civilian career as a Pittsburgh police officer. “I am most excited to start my adult life…and to do what I want to do as a field agent, finding missing persons. Being a Military Intelligence Officer will help me get jobs with high-level clearances and further my long term career in intelligence,” says Alonso. While maintaining a standard college work load, cadets in the ROTC program also volunteered to wake up early three times per week for physical readiness training (PRT), attend an additional military science class once per week, and give up their weekend once per month for lab in preparation to become the future leaders of America. “Having a college degree goes a long way and having certain skills like public speaking and working with others helps for future careers,” says Alonso. Cadets must maintain the Army’s physical fitness standards. Three times per week, cadets wake up at 6 a.m. to conduct PRT. During this time, cadets work out, developing their muscular endurance and cardiorespiratory fitness. Once per week, cadets attend a military science class where they learn about

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the Army’s structure, how to be a leader, military combat tactics, and the Army’s global influence. During labs, cadets spend the day in the field planning and executing missions based on the military combat tactics they learned in class in order to test and develop their leadership abilities. Nicholas Miller is a Criminal Justice major with a concentration in Homeland Security at California University of Pennsylvania. He will be commissioning this year as an Active Duty Infantry officer. As an Active Duty Infantry Officer Miller will be responsible for leading soldiers into combat and bringing them home safely to their loved ones. “I joined ROTC because I wanted to be an officer in the military and I am looking forward to my first deployment and leading troops into combat,” says Miller. The Three Rivers Battalion ROTC program spans a number of colleges and universities in and around the Pittsburgh area. This year, Three Rivers Battalion will commission 41 cadets to second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. For these individuals, graduation is ove shadowed

by their commissioning and first salute ceremony. The commissioning ceremony represents the cadets’ induction into the United States Army as an officer. During commissioning, cadets receive their first salute. The first salute is given to the second lieutenant by a non-commissioned officer (NCO) that has mentored and inspired them during their four years in ROTC. By giving the newly commissioned officer their first salute, the NCO is acknowledging their approval and respect for the second lieutenant’s new rank and position as a leader of America. The second lieutenant holds a silver dollar in his palm and shakes the NCO’s hand to give them the coin. This act symbolizes the gratitude the officer has for the NCO and pays them back all the lessons they have instilled in them. ROTC and the Three Rivers Battalion create future leaders of America. “ROTC has prepared me physically, made me more organized and gave me the influential power to inspire others,” says Miller. Photo: Army ROTC came together

with Navy and Airforce ROTC at the University of Pittsburgh’s final home game of the season 2018 for the annual Joint March On Photo by Hannah Weidinger About the Author: My name is Ryan Kierstan. I am a senior at Washington & Jefferson College majoring in communication arts and minoring in mathematics. I am a member of the communication arts honor society, Lambda Pi Eta, as well as a brother of the Gamma chapter of Beta Theta PI. I will be graduating this May and will be commissioning as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army as an Active Duty Signal Corps Officer. This July, I will begin my military career at Fort Gordon, Georgia where I will learn specialized Signal skills at Signal Basic Officer Leaders Course, SBOLC. After completing SBOLC, I will move to my first duty station Fort Riley, Kansas. I wanted to write this article to congratulate all the commissioning seniors in the Three Rivers Battalion and to acknowledge all the hard work required of them in the past four year.

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