ROTC attends weekend retreat

By Andrea Azzo

Almost 100 students spent the weekend sleeping outside in frigid temperatures in Wisconsin’s wilderness. Because of the cold temperature, many were covered in frost.

The three-day weekend retreat served as mandatory training for the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in Fort McCoy, Wisc. Cadets learned basic skills in shooting and land navigation.

ROTC sends students to Fort McCoy once a semester. The fall trip acts as more of a camping trip, said Military Science Instructor David Dosier. The spring trip involves fictitious missions.

For the trip, cadets learned how to shoot M-16 rifles at a simulated target 25 meters away. This replicates a human target 300 meters away, said Military Science Instructor Antonitus Knight.

Later, students shot at pop-up targets and participated in two different land navigation exercises, in which they had to find points in a forest using a map. One of the navigations took place during the day and the other at night.

The ROTC program has perks, said Captain Maureen Minder, U.S. Army Reserve Enrollment and Scholarship Officer. Some students receive tuition waivers and scholarships, depending on their status in the program.

Students can join ROTC by enrolling into Military Science 101 class, held Tuesdays and Thursdays. Minder said this required course teaches students about aspects of the military, like ranks. Students of any major can join.

Once a student completes the program, he or she joins the US Army, National Guard or Army Reserves.

Andrew Hansen, sophomore political science major and ROTC member, spent 27 months deployed in Afghanistan in the army.

“Think of every emotion you’ve felt in the past 27 months and multiply it by 10,” Hansen said of his time overseas.

Hansen received the Green 2 Gold Scholarship, which gives him a full ride for his schooling.

Hansen said he joined the military to uphold family tradition and because his parents couldn’t pay for his college education.

Minder said joining the military gave her experiences she otherwise wouldn’t have had, as she came from a small town. She received an offer for an internship in Paris and gets free admission to places like Disney World.

Some students in the ROTC program said they think of their comrades as part of a family because of the connection they share. Terry Houston, military sciences graduate student, said his old friends mostly wanted to hang out and have fun. The people he knows from ROTC care more about him, he said.

“They care about how I’m doing in school and care about my well-being,” he said. “Cadets here care more about me as a person.”