The university has a new program this fall that promotes building bonds with fellow students and teaches how to become a responsible leader in various situations.
The Army ROTC organization has now expanded its courses to UMHB. The headquarters for the curriculum is based out of Tarleton University in Stephenville, Texas, but has a detachment in Killeen and on the UMHB campus. Five students participate in the program, while Killeen has about 60 who are stationed there.
Among the UMHB students, the leader is Cadet Sgt. Major Alex Petrowski, who is a junior and a criminal justice major. Petrowski was in the Army for two and half years before joining the ROTC program and is excited the campus has joined the program.
“UMHB really wanted to have an Army program of their own,” he said. “The university has had an Air Force ROTC program based out of Baylor University for some time now. We just thought there should be an Army detachment,” he said.
However, with only five students participating, the program is small. Junior sports management major Ariel Bush is one of the five.
Both Bush and Petrowski stress the want and need of new recruits to join and become a part of the new organization.
“Army ROTC is a great opportunity and learning experience,” Bush said. “There are many different scholarship opportunities associated with the program for anyone that is interested. Whether you are prior service, active duty, National Guard, reserve or none of the previously listed, it is definitely a life—changing experience, and I love every minute of it.”
For those who are nervous about the demands of the Army, the ROTC program prepares people for the commitment of the Army.
“As ROTC cadets, we must first learn to be great followers before we are great leaders,” Bush said. “In class we learn all the mechanics of how to lead tactical squad missions, and then we apply what we learned in the classroom to practical exercises. We also participate in land navigation classes, combat water safety training and field training exercises.”
Head of the recruiting at UMHB is Major Chris Jay. He was in the Army for more than 21 years and is now trying to get students to join the challenging program.
“My main hope for the program is just wanting it to grow,” he said. “The students here at UMHB that have committed to the organization are outstanding.”
Jay also believes that, along with building ROTC on campus and recruiting more students, the university can also have an advantage from it. In his eyes, UMHB has the potential of enrolling more students now that the program is here.
“Kids completing their college search will see that we have ROTC for the Army and will want to come to the university,” he said.
Cadet Bush thinks that being a part of the Army organization on campus has changed her for the better.
“I enjoy the camaraderie and the relationships formed that will carry throughout my military career,” Bush said. “It’s nice to be able to share common goals with peers who are experiencing the same things.”