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Kent State’s AFROTC Welcomes New Members at Orientation ProgramPosted Feb. 24, 2014 | Hannah Hamner
Kent State University’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) welcomed new cadets and parents into the program at an orientation in January.
The orientation gave an overview of the AFROTC program and detailed scholarship opportunities, life in the Air Force and the pay and benefits of being an officer.
Speakers included Capt. Christopher Deaver, Lt. Col. Dan Finkelstein and current student cadets who shared perspectives on their involvement.
“We aimed to clear any misconceptions about the program,” says Cadet Jerrod Mertz, who was one of the event coordinators. “A lot of the time, parents think being in ROTC means signing up to serve on the front lines.”
On the contrary, a large portion of time in AFROTC is spent in the classroom. Through the program, freshmen and sophomores learn skills, such as how to properly wear a uniform and public speaking, while junior and senior curriculum focuses more on leadership and becoming an Air Force officer.
In addition, students complete field training between their sophomore and junior years at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., and Camp Shelby in southern Mississippi. This rigorous 22-week commitment teaches participants a range of skills from making a bed to learning appropriate conduct in a combat situation through a mock deployment.
This is one of many information nights that occur throughout the academic year. A pre-event social hour featured a slideshow that showcased AFROTC membership and encouraged friendly interaction between the participants and current cadets.
Of the 27 attendees of the orientation, nine were new cadets or students interested in joining. New members are already realizing the benefits of their involvement in the Kent State AFROTC program.
“It teaches you thousands of different values and skills,” says John Fowler, a freshman cadet. “It really encourages you to do the best you can and more, and teaches you time management and how to organize any kind of event.”
New and current members also mentioned that they learn other values such as integrity, health and leadership.
“I’ve learned a lot more confidence in my four years of being in the AFROTC program,” Mertz says. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in my career. The program helped me realize my goals for the future. You also learn invaluable skills, such as leadership, delegation and time management, which make you extremely marketable if and when you choose to work in the civilian world.”
For sophomore Cadet Calli Baumberger, joining the ROTC was premeditated.
“Ever since I was little, I always felt like I was going to be in the military,” Baumberger says. “In kindergarten, on the timelines, everybody writes ‘get married’ and I said military. I just always really admired those people and thought they held the highest honor. Serving your country – what better way to live your life?”
A goal of the orientation was to make new cadets and interested members feel at home. Parents were grateful for the Q&A session after the orientation because it gave them the opportunity to fully realize what their children’s involvement means.
“You’re going to love it. It’s one big happy family. You’ll come into this not really knowing what to expect, but you’ll come out as a professional leader, and it’s going to completely change your world,” says Robert Arthur, a senior cadet.
To learn more about Kent State’s AFROTC program, visit www.kent.edu/afrotc.