Summer 2017 Corps Review | Back
Cadet Reflection: Military Science I
By Jacob Decker ’20
Joining the Army ROTC program here at Virginia Tech is one of the best decisions I have made so far. I have just completed my first year as a cadet in this program, and I have already learned a lot. Over only two semesters, I have learned about different tactics and movements, from a fire team of four soldiers to an entire platoon of 40. I have learned things like ambushes to patrols, as well as land navigation with just a compass, a map, and some grid coordinates. Each semester, we have a three-day field training exercise in which we apply the skills learned in class and essentially tactically camp out in the middle of the woods. The training here has been phenomenal, and I know it will only get better. To top it off, this summer, I am traveling to Peru to participate in Army ROTC’s Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) program!
Cadet Reflection: Military Science II
By Liana Sinnott ’19
Army ROTC has been one of the best experiences I have had at Virginia Tech. The cadre staff truly care about the leadership development and growth of the cadets going through this program. While it is not easy, it is a challenge that is truly rewarding in the end. There may be times where you fail or times where you think you can’t handle it, but this program was meant to test you and help you become a stronger leader. The New River Battalion has numerous opportunities for cadets. One that I enjoyed most was attending the annual Veterans Conference in Washington, D.C. I was able to hear speeches from empowering individuals such as the 28th commandant of the Marine Corps, P.X. Kelley, and numerous Medal of Honor recipients. This summer I am training with the Royal Thai Army in Thailand through CULP and then learning Chinese for the rest of the summer with Project Global Officer. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities to develop myself throughout these programs.
By Michel Becker ’19
ROTC has given me great opportunities. Last semester I was a member of the battalion’s Army 10 Miler team and traveled to Washington, D.C., to run the race. Our team got fifth place for ROTC teams, and I was the second finisher for Virginia Tech. Training with the team throughout the semester brought the members close and created lasting friendships. Army ROTC has also offered me great summer opportunities. Last summer, I went to Basic Camp where I learned about army tactics, drill, and ceremony and got to interact with ROTC cadets from around the country. This summer I am traveling to Latvia to study Russian through Project Global Officer, and after that I will go on to airborne school. My involvement in ROTC has helped provide purpose and direction to my college experience, as well as offering me many great experiences I could not find anywhere else.
Cadet Reflection: Military Science III
By Michael Shipley ’18
I moved to Virginia Tech in the fall of 2016 following nearly four years with the 75th Ranger Regiment. While prior-service experience is helpful, there is an entirely different set of skills you need to learn when preparing to become an officer. During my time in the program, I have held the position of squad leader, platoon sergeant, and next semester I will be the program battalion commander. This isn’t an opportunity that I take lightly, and I’m extremely excited to work with staff and company commanders. I’ve also enjoyed working with the Virginia Tech Cadet Ranger Company, a group of extremely motivated, young, future officers. Seeing how seriously they study Ranger history, tactics and live by the Ranger Creed is inspiring and makes me proud to be a Ranger. There is no doubt these soldiers will do great things in the Army because of the lessons they learned in Ranger Company.
By Brett Mester ’18
Learning through leadership. This small phrase drove my Army ROTC experience this school year. As soon as the school year began, I was thrown into the position of platoon sergeant, standing in front of more than 20 cadets with varied levels of experience. I myself had only been in the program for less than a year, but just completed Basic Camp the previous summer. The challenge was becoming a positive leader while creating an environment for each cadet to grow in. I found this task to be both difficult and rewarding. My approach was to show respect down to the lowest levels and immerse myself in their development.
By Nikkole Lenardson ’17
My Military Science III year of Army ROTC has been absolutely demanding, but greatly rewarding. I had the opportunity to experience direct leadership as a platoon sergeant (PSG) one semester and learn about a more hands-off approach to leadership as a first sergeant in the next. As PSG, getting to interact face-to-face with squad leaders down to squad members served as a valuable opportunity to positively influence younger cadets. I was expected to show up to every class, lab, or meeting as the subject-matter expert, ready to teach and lead. This expectation drove my development as a cadet and prepared me for hurdles I’m sure I’ll face at Advanced Camp.
Cadet Battalion Commander Perspective
By Josh Conyers ’17
A year ago, I never realized the amount of training I would obtain as the cadet battalion commander. While freshman to junior year focuses on leadership through execution, during senior year the focus turns toward higher level thinking: leadership philosophies, large-scale training events, and how to lead other leaders. At the start of the semester, I met with Col. Kevin Milton to receive his guidance. With about a dozen PowerPoint slides in hand, it was then up to me and my staff to plan and execute the training for the 400 cadets of the New River Battalion. As the battalion commander, my biggest personal challenge and most rewarding realization was how to create a commander’s intent, articulate the key tasks necessary to meet that intent, and visualize a successful end result of that event. The concept of instructing subordinate leaders in what to do, not necessarily how to do it, was tough to wrap my mind around at first. But, as the year progressed, not only did it prove to be effective, I think it’s a concept that really sets Army ROTC cadets apart from our peers on campus.