Student Soldiers

30 Apr 2013, Posted by admin in Packages, No Comments. Tagged , , , , , ,

Student Soldiers

The University of Cincinnati’s ROTC program prepares students to be leaders while covering most of their school expenses.

Story, photo and video by Alex Weaver

You may have seen them on the University of Cincinnati campus – men and women dressed in uniform, huddled around one another after practicing drills near Lindner Hall.

They are students in UC’s ROTC program, and they are preparing to become officers – all while pursuing their academic degrees.

ROTC gives students the opportunity to challenge themselves and serve their country, says Battalion Commander Christopher A. Kapucinski.

“I joined because I really wanted to make a difference,” Kapucinski said.

In addition, the program offers valuable leadership and management experience while covering much of students’ school expenses, said John E. Bautch, UC ROTC scholarship and enrollment officer.

The ROTC covers either 100 percent of a student’s tuition and fees or $10,000 for room and board. Both options include $1,200 a year for books. Freshmen also receive a living stipend of $300 a year that increases each year. By the time cadets reach their senior year they receive a $500 stipend.

Bautch said the program seeks an SAL: “A scholar, an athlete and a leader.”

For the 2012-2013 school year, the ROTC will commission 26 graduates from UC as officers. UC’s program strives to have a minimum of 25 cadets in each academic year.

Cadet Seth Heeter was motivated to join by a strong desire to serve his country. “It (the ROTC) is also adventurous,” he said. “I always like something new; it’s more dynamic than a 9-to-5 job.”

Cadets devote about seven to 10 hours a week to activities such as military science classes, leadership labs and field training exercises.

The ROTC program also has events such as team-building activities, fundraisers, military balls and award ceremonies.

“It (the ROTC) has made me a more confident person,” Kapucinksi said. “The ROTC really makes you make decisions for yourself.”

In summers, cadets can participate in as much or as little ROTC activity as they choose. They can attend sponsored and funded courses, classes and trips, or do absolutely nothing at all. It is up to the cadet.

The only summer activity that’s required is the Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) at Fort Lewis, near Seattle, Wash. It’s a capstone training event for Army ROTC cadets taken between the junior and senior years across all 273 ROTC programs in the nation.

The ROTC is a place where men and women learn to trust one another and believe in each other, Kapucinski said.

“It’s almost like a giant frat. We’re all very close.”

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