Why I Joined ROTC

RYAN LAVIN | OPINION COLUMNIST | rplavin@butler.edu

While most Butler University students were buying books for the new semester and getting caught up with friends over winter break, I became a cadet in Butler’s Army Reserve Officer Training Corps program. It has already helped me in so many different ways.

The Army ROTC has been in existence since 1918 with the mission of molding American civilians into top notch Army officers during their college years.

Butler is an affiliate school for the ROTC program run out of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, meaning that Butler sends its Army ROTC students to IUPUI for physical training and labs, which teach cadets how to handle situations that can occur in the Army. Along with that, the ROTC battalion goes on a field training exercise once a semester to learn land navigation techniques.

One of first year cadet Conor Maloney’s favorite memories comes from his experience during these exercises.

“Going on the field training exercise was one of my favorite experiences from ROTC so far,” Maloney said. “Learning how to navigate was something I had never done before, and it was overall a great new experience.”

Joining ROTC this semester has helped me to get into better physical shape through their physical training regimen. Maloney and other cadets said they can also see the results of their physical training.

“I have definitely gotten stronger from PT,” Maloney said. I have avoided the freshman 15 because of it, and I have been able see real physical results from the training.”

Cadet Timmy Howard also recognizes that the benefits of PT include motivation from his fellow cadets.

“The group mentality of PT really helps push me to get stronger and go further than I could go alone,” Howard said.  

I wake up on Monday and Wednesday mornings at 5:30 to carpool with other cadets to the gymnasium at IUPUI for training, which normally consists of a warm-up, a high intensity activity, and a cool-down. The training sessions have helped me to build a higher endurance for running, push-ups and sit-ups. I have never been physically fit in my life, but ROTC lit a fire within me to push myself harder than ever before and get in shape in order to one day serve as a soldier in the U.S. Army.

Being in ROTC has also given me the opportunity to prepare for life as a soldier while receiving a college degree. I can fulfill all the requirements and take all the classes I need for my degree, all the while, preparing me to serve in the Army after college.

I personally feel a deep and compelling drive to serve my country and to protect the principles of liberty and freedom we as Americans hold so dear. ROTC gives me the perfect opportunity to prepare to defend those principles while obtaining my bachelor’s degree at Butler.

Army ROTC has given me the opportunity to strive to become a better version of myself. I manage my time better than ever before, and I am surrounded by other people who are working toward a common goal. Howard said he feels that a brotherhood has formed through his experiences in ROTC. “Being in ROTC helped forge relationships among the cadets through the activities that we do together,” Howard said.

If ROTC interests you, feel free to explore their website, https://www.goarmy.com/rotc.html or email Butler’s ROTC liaison, Mr. Jerry Barker, at jlbarker@butler.edu