by Cadet Hanebrink
As I near the beginning of my fourteenth month as an ROTC cadet, I must reflect on the entire experience as a whole and what incredible things it has done for me. I entered ROTC at the beginning of my junior year in college, which in turn, branded me as a AS250 student. I had no prior military related experience and I did not come from a military family (my grandfather, uncle, and godfather are the only people I knew to serve in the Armed Forces- Army, Navy, and Marines respectfully). What led me to ROTC was the fact that I had a strong interest in serving my country and thought it would be an excellent pathway to the career field I wanted to pursue, but I wanted to do so through the Navy. I contacted a Navy recruiter and set up multiple interviews and meetings with him; however, my parents felt more comfortable that I finish school before I decide to join the military. My parent’s opinions are something I always take into consideration before making a decision, therefore this led me to a Google search, which in turn led me to the AFROTC program offered through my college at SLU. I remember thinking that this was exactly what I wanted to do so I picked up the phone and called the detachment.
As mentioned, I had absolutely zero military experience, so when I walked in my first LLAB on that hot August afternoon, I was naturally very confused. Most of the cadets in my class already had a pretty good idea of what they were doing, so I felt very behind right off the bat. However, I am a highly competitive individual and I do not like to fail, so I worked extremely hard to get to the level that the rest of my class was at. I sacrificed a lot of personal time for studying Warrior Knowledge and watching YouTube videos on drill and ceremonies. I would practice facing movements in my tiny apartment hallway, in an effort to perfect them. I already had a busy workload from school, working at my job, and playing as a Division II softball athlete, but ROTC was one of my top priorities. I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t a time when I asked myself, “What am I doing here?” or “Why am I doing this?”. However, the moment after I asked myself this, I answered, “Because this is where you want to be and this is what you want to do.” I wanted nothing more than to serve my country, while surrounding myself with high quality people, and working in a career field that I loved. When I picture my future, this is what I picture. Even through all the hard times, the late night study cramming sessions, and the blisters from drilling, I would not want to do anything else. My hard work paid off when I received my slot for field training! I was very nervous about whether or not my EA would get accepted for a slot because I was an AS250 student and had only a few months experience; but, when you set your mind to something and refuse to fail, everything begins to fall into place.
My advice to all GMC would be that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. ROTC has already taught me, in such a short period of time, many life lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I have been befriended and acquainted many amazing people with high morals and values that I will forever cherish. When I am an elder, I want to reflect back on my life and proudly say, “Yes, I did that”.. and it all started with Detachment 207 out of St. Louis University!
- Learn more about SLU’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 207
by Cadet Steven Bauer
I am Cadet Steven Bauer and I am a junior in Saint Louis University’s Air Force ROTC program. Air Force ROTC has been the greatest highlight of my college career because I have learned a great deal in my classes and in our Leadership Labs that have helped me become a stronger, more confident leader. The ROTC program not only teaches you how to be a leader, but also to be physically fit, have a professional demeanor, and acquire people skills that will help you while on active duty.
The program also offers extra-curricular activities such as the Detachment 207 Color/Honor Guard and Arnold Air Society which allow you to increase your participation in the program. I am currently in the Detachment 207 Color/Honor Guard and had the experience of being the American flag bearer during the opening Rams game this year. The Color/Honor Guard also participates at many other venues and events in and around the St. Louis area and is an awesome extra-curricular activity to be involved in. Not only do you get to travel around and present the colors for events, but you also get to meet people of prior military service and have them share their experiences with you.
Arnold Air Society is another extra-curricular activity and is a service based organization that allows you to build professionalism and knowledge that it takes to be an Air Force officer. They are the cadets who go the extra mile to become more well-rounded cadets through increased Air Force knowledge and community service. ROTC offers a lot of opportunities for professional growth and creates a special bond between the members that will last a lifetime. It also has opportunities to become even more involved in the community while maintaining the image of a professional cadet corps. ROTC’s mission is to develop quality leaders for the Air Force, and I believe the program here at Saint Louis University is doing just that through their overall program as well as their extra-curricular activities that are offered.
- Learn more about SLU’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 207