ROTC salutes to year’s end
With the semester drawing to a close, ROTC hopes to finish up this academic year with a bang. On Friday, May 1, ROTC will be holding its Best Pirate Competition.
“After taking their ROTC finals teams of two cadets from the four class year groups in ROTC will compete against each other in a series of grueling physical and mental challenges,” said Alexander Smith, a senior history major and a Pirate Battalion S5 Public Affairs Officer.
Smith refrained from giving specifics so as to surprise the cadets the day of the event. ROTC prepares future members of the United States military. Before serving their country, ROTC members keep themselves busy serving their local communities, while finding time to enjoy themselves as well.
On Saturday, May 2, the program will run the annual Pirate Ball, a formal event celebrating the battalion’s achievements for the year. Guests include alumni of the Seton Hall Army ROTC program, Field Grade officers, and Seton Hall officials. The night concludes with achievement award presentations.
The Change of Command ceremony, where graduating cadets hand leadership over to next year’s seniors, will be held on Wednesday, May 13. On Friday, May 15 ROTC will hold its capstone event: the commissioning and awards ceremony.
“Commissioning is the culminating achievement of every cadet,” said Smith. “As they are welcomed into the army as a second lieutenant, and the new second lieutenants have their rank pinned on and receive their first salute after taking the oath of office.”
SHU cadets will be busy running an event at Pirate Adventure this summer, as well as attending cultural immersion training exercises at Fort Knox. Smith has been involved with ROTC since he was a freshman.
“I came into SHU knowing that I wanted to be an Army officer,” he said.
Smith will be graduating this semester as a Second Lieutenant in the Field Artillery branch of the Army. ROTC has already held several capstone events. Most recently, the SHU battalion organized their annual cleanup of South Mountain Reservation, known to cadets as SMR.
“Cadets brought rakes, brooms, trash bags and gloves to SMR around 7:30 A.M. and cleaned all of the high use public areas of the park,” said Smith. “We use SMR regularly to train and want to make sure it’s clean and usable for everyone else as well.”
Afterwards, cadets participated in a 5K run to promote awareness of sexual assault and harassment.
According to Smith, “Almost every ROTC and JROTC program in the country participated at the same time starting the run at 12am EST in an effort to break a world record for most simultaneous participants in a 5K at multiple locations.”
ROTC is demanding, but SHU cadets are willing and able to embrace the hard work it entails.
While “The most challenging aspect” for Smith “has been the responsibility and high workload that comes with having that leadership position,” he recommends that students “who are willing to learn and can interact with others well on a professional level” get involved with ROTC, and will be rewarded with scholarship opportunities, the opportunity to serve their country in the future, self-discipline, physical fitness, and a sense of real responsibility.
Patrick Hurley, a freshman cadet, who had the opportunity to be sworn into ROTC during a SHU men’s basketball game, admits that the commitment, early waking hours and physical and mental challenges are difficult.
However, he said, the friendships created during his time with ROTC and the “leadership skills (he has acquired) that can be applied in everyday work environments,” make it all worthwhile.
Noora Badwan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.