ROTC program has a successful year thanks to new leader

The Army ROTC program has doubled the number of commissioned students requested by the Army this year.

According to Col. Edwin Frederick, head of the U’s ROTC program, the Army asked the program to commission at least 12 students. In his first year as head of the program, Frederick will commission-or award second lieutenant status-more than 25 cadets.

“The program is successful because the cadets are successful,” Frederick said.

In fact, many of the students have received prestigious awards for their accomplishments.

Kirk Jackson was selected from more than 5,000 cadets across the United States as one of eight to receive the Olmsted Internship, during which he’ll travel to Russia to study the language and culture and meet with dignitaries.

Maj. Dustin Shulz, who helped Jackson fill out all the necessary forms to apply for the internship, said the goal of the internship is to “help facilitate cultural exchange for the next generation of Army leaders.”

Jackson will be spending approximately three weeks in Russia, from May 30 to June 20.

Sarah Eccleston received the Brigade Nurse of the Year Award, given to the No. 1 nurse in the four-state area of Utah, Nevada, California and Arizona, based on her grades and her participation in the program.

Russ Anderson received the George C. Marshall Award for being the top cadet in the U’s program. He’ll travel to the Virginia Military Institute on April 13 for a four-day conference, during which he’ll be recognized by top military officials.

About Frederick, Anderson said, “He’s basically been really supportive of the ROTC students in trying to help with academics…showing us the importance of the full college experience.”

This year, 16 cadets will travel to Fort Lewis, Wash., for summer training, four were selected to participate in Airborne School and one freshman, Josh Negley, was chosen to go to Mountain Warfare School in Vermont because of his outstanding grades and physical training performance.

“It was a really good year,” Frederick said.

He said part of the success is due to the fact that the cadets “just enjoy being here,” and that the camaraderie and friendship is what keeps them coming back.

However, that doesn’t minimize the serious nature of the cadets’ futures. “Serving in Iraq is a very real possibility for most of the cadets graduating this year,” Frederick said.

In fact, serving in Iraq is a major topic of discussion in Frederick’s military science class.

He often discusses the possibility at length with his students, and although he said, “I’m not sure if anyone can ever totally be ready to [serve],” Frederick feels “we’ve fulfilled our responsibility here in getting them ready.”

Frederick said the cadets have demonstrated their motivation and their skills “week after week” during physical training sessions and field excursions. “We’re proud and pleased with the quality of Army officers we’re going to graduate,” Frederick said.

The Army will follow up with the cadets’ training. Each commissioned student will attend another four to six months of Army training this summer.

The commissioned students will then join their units, whether in the active, guard or reserve component of the service.

Anderson plans to travel to Fort Knox, Ky., on May 31 to complete his training. Afterward, he’ll report for active duty. If sent to Iraq, he’ll join his two brothers and his sister-in-law in the country.

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