NIU’s ROTC students prepare for possible military action

By Beth Oltmanns

While the military response to the Sept. 11 attacks may not immediately affect the 92 students in the NIU Army ROTC program, two program graduates are being prepared for action.

Lt. William Chomos and Lt. Jon Lorenzi have received their military assignments and will be leaving for officer basic training soon.

Chomos is leaving in a week for North Carolina. He is assigned to the 82nd Air Born Division.

Chomos said he is ready to go and serve.

Lorenzi is also leaving for officer basic training in North Carolina, but will not leave until Nov. 1. He is assigned to the special operations command.

The country needs the army to stand for what we believe in, Lorenzi said.

Both Chomos and Lorenzi agree that there is a real possibility that they could be sent into action.

As for the ROTC students on campus, they’re safe for now.

“This isn’t affecting us any more than the average citizen,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Payne, of the NIU Army ROTC program.

Some of the cadre and cadets are enlisted in the military reserves on their own, Payne said. The ROTC program is divided into cadre, who are the instructors, officers and non-commissioned officers and cadets, who are students.

He is aware of one cadre who may be called to active duty, but he is not aware of any cadets who have been called.

Although the cadets will not be affected immediately, they can take action, Payne said.

“The action [the cadets] could take right now is to continue to be leaders on campus,” he said.

When cadets graduate, they become commissioned officers and have the choice to join active military duty or the reserves.