By Sarah Sattelberg
Future leaders are being cultivated through the university’s ROTC program. Such programs across the country have commissioned more than half a million officers since President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Defense act of 1916 creating the program. UMHB’s department of military science has only been in existence for two years.
Assistant Professor of military science Maj. Chris Jay served 21 years in the Army as an enlisted airborne Ranger then as an officer in Special Forces before retiring.
“The main … thing students get from ROTC is the leadership aspects,” he said. “There are companies and corporations out there that hire headhunter firms to find officers who have completed their service obligation so they can place them in management positions within their organization.”
Master Sgt. David Tetraut spent 22 years as an Army infantry man. He is no newcomer to training soldiers, having spent two years as a drill sergeant and two as an airborne jump instructor.
“I think the best thing about ROTC is the development,” he said. “The curriculum starts out at a leadership level that can apply to any profession, no matter what their future endeavors are. The program here can only enhance the student body.”
ROTC offers more than personal growth. The program has scholarships that pay tuition and fees, book stipend of $600 a semester and a living allowance of $200 to $500 dollars a month. To be eligible students must maintain a 2.5 GPA, pass moral and physical standards and commit to an eight-year
period of service.
UMHB has 20 ROTC cadets, and the number is expected to grow.
Sophomore political science major William McCarville is an ROTC scholarship recipient. He spent six years in the Army as a cavalry scout and decided to go from enlisted to officer.
“I think students would find ROTC beneficial for several different reasons,” he said. “The leadership, assertiveness and management skills that ROTC cadets gain are valuable in any career field.”
The program has more to give than scholarships and management skills, it offers adventure.
McCarville recommends ROTC to any student who is curious about the military. “It is a great way to get a taste of the Army and see what you are made of,” he said.
Jay took pleasure in his personal military experience.
“The highlight was being one of two captains in charge of one-fifth of the country of Afghanistan when contingency operations began,” he said.
McCarville has big plans for his military career.
He said, “I plan to serve my country until I become a General or I am physically unable to continue, whichever comes first.”