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October 20, 1989 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-10-20
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U 19


nior Navy Battalion Commnder
David Derr. "There's the anxiety of
being a freshman, out of the normal
atmosphere. Most have little idea of
what the military is like."
"We ease them into military
life," Gaul said.
I7 he first lesson for the
new cadet is getting used
to a new hairstyle.
"We take them all
down to the barbers at
once," explained Derr. The cut is the
same for everyone: short. Women
must keep their hair neat and above
the bottom of the neck.
"They're nice except when it
rains," said Air Force ROTC
sophomore James Chitty, a transfer
student. "Then it's kind of cold."
Classes for first-year students fo-
cus on the history of the service and
its customs and courtesies. More dif-
ficult subjects - radar, weapons
propulsions, engineering - are re-
served for future years. Each service
requires that students take one
ROTC cass a semester in addition
to a weekly leadership seminar.
The leadership seminars or drills
are the core of the ROTC programs.
Here students learn the basics of
marching, wearing the uniform,
camouflaging and almost every
aspect of military life.
But the real value of the semi-
nars, according to ROTC instructors,
is that they give students the chance
to work together as a unit and give
upperclass students practice as lead-
For the exercises, students are di-
vided into "platoons," "flights" or
"companies" (depending on the ser-
vice) of 15 to 20 people. An upper-
class cadet is the group leader and is
in charge of training his or her

Being a platooneader is chal-
lenging, said Navy ROTC senior
Catherine Friday. "I can be shy and
retiring a lot of times, but you can't
be that way [in the Navy]."
Matriculation from ROTC takes
two or four years, depending on the
program. The Air Force offers addi-
tional one- and three-year programs.
Since Army ROTC classes to do
not count towards an LSA degree,
the two-year program is more popu-
lar, said Army Lt. Col William Gre-
Students who will complete their
ROTC training sign contracts for
four years of active military duty and
four years of inactive duty. The con-
tracts must be signed either when
scholarships are activated or at the
beginning of the third year of train-
If a student enters ROTC on
scholarship and decides after the first
year to disenroll from the program,
the money doesn't have to be paid
back to the military and the obliga-
tion to service is forgone.
eciding whether or not
to undertake a military
career is often made
I) only after attending
the ROTC summer
camps which are required of all
ROTC students. They are held, de-
pending on the service branch, at
various military bases or special
camps around the country.
As the military sees it, the camps
are the testing grounds for officer
candidates. But, as Bob Donner, Ma-
rine ROTC senior put it, "It's six
weeks of hell."
On extremely little sleep, often
no more than three or four hours a
night, students are placed in physi-
cally demanding or mind-bending si-
tuations where only teamwork and

ingenuity will yield a solution.
"They want to see if you can take
the stress," said Sue Prince, an Air
Force senior.
Prince described her experience:
"We had a bed check each night, and

the door was only supposed to be
open two inches wide. But I didn't
know. My bed was by the door. The
F20 [Field training officer] came by
and said 'What's wrong with your
door; get up and fix it.' Then, when


,~,...A.THIE MARl

Clueless are the young men and
women when first they enter the
corridors of North Hall, home of the
University's Reserve Officer Train-
ing Corps.
Bewildered by the University's
size and uncertain whether military
life is as good as the brochures
promise, the new recruits swear
their loyalty to the Constitution and
the President of the United States.
Upon completion of their pro-
grams in the next two, three or four
years,. the students will become
commissioned officers of the United
States Army, Navy, Air Force, or
Marines and will serve in the mili-
tary for at least four years.


t's a cold windy morning in
Burns Park. Freshly fallen
leaves crunch quietly be-
neath the feet; the air
smells faintly of smoking

embers and the sky is a deep azure
But it's 10:15 a.m. on a Saturday
and the photographer and reporter are
wondering if they're at the right
After all, when the military says
an event will start at 10:00, it's very

rarely late.
Wait, don't go home yet. For
suddenly from around the corner
comes a rhythmic chanting, and
soon 153 students of the Air Force
ROTC are jogging into the park for
a "field day" of three-legged races and
egg-tossing contests.
"It's like a home away from
home," "a fraternity," "a family,"
and "a place where everyone's goals
are all the same," said four cadets
that Saturday morning as they

chomped down hotdogs and ham-
"There's a totally different mind-
set here. People have a common
goal. They know what they're here
for, and they know where they're go-
ing," said Gary Durman, a senior Air
Force cadet.
They and fellow ROTC students
in the Army, Navy and Marine (a
subdivision of the Navy) programs
are here to learn what it takes to be a
commissioned military officer.

And although they have a lot of
fun, students take this goal very se-
Explained first-year general mili-
tary cadet Tamra Chute, "[Air Force
ROTC] is going to teach me every-
thing I need to know: discipline,
how to be an officer, a leader."
The first year of any ROTC pro-
gram is a trial run. Students use the
year to decide if the military is as
right for them as the brochures
promise; essentially, they get their
feet wet.
"They come in here as intimi-
dated as hell," said Capt. Volker
Gaul, an Air Force instructor.
"They don't kn~ow what to expect
when they come to college," said se-

A few "scary guys," a couple of
ghosts, a hanged man and quite a lot
of other freaky creatures will be con-
vening in North Hall this Halloween
for another night of ghastly pranks
and ghoulish escapades.
The haunted house, annually held
in the basement of North Hall, an-
nually attracts hundreds of thrill
seekers who pay S2 for a good
scream. North Hall how houses the
Reserve Officers Training Corps, but
used to be the University Hospital,
and the basement, where the haunted
house is held, used to be the hospi-
tal's morgue.
The reputation of the haunted
house is wide-spread; each year it
raises thousands of dollars for Motts'
Children's Hospital, and for some it
may be the only ROTC activity that
students are familiar with.
But the ROTC supports a variety
of extra-curricular organizations.
The tri-service Rifle Team has
placed first in its league champi-
onship for the past four years.
The team, which competes in the
ROTC Southern Michigan/ North-
western Ohio ROTC Rifle league,

'i 1


Tim Carter, Navy midshipman 3rd class, tries on the vampire sling in preparation for the
annual ROTC Haunted House.

Page 8 Weekend/October 20,1989

Weekend/October 20,1989

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