CHADRON – The Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at Chadron State College allows students an opportunity to get involved with the U.S. Army and tailor their involvement to match their own interests.
Because of the options the program offers, ROTC students, or cadets, can craft their own experience.
“In ROTC, you get to make your own destiny. You get to choose how much you participate and how many things you put your name in the hat for,” said Sam Klammer, an ROTC cadet from Juniata, Nebraska.
Klammer is one of more than 20 students from various majors who are part of CSC’s ROTC program. Cadets have the opportunity to apply for and receive national and state-based scholarships. Scholarships range from two to four years but consist of the same benefits, including either a semester-based full tuition wavier or a $5,000 room and board stipend, a $600 book stipend, and a $425 monthly stipend for living expenses.
Klammer said being in ROTC, specifically at CSC, is a smart investment.
“Scholarships are the same wherever you go, so the scholarships have to compete against all of the schools in the nation. Chadron State’s affordability allows you to get the most out of your scholarship,” said Klammer.
Prior to their senior years, cadets must attend and pass their final test, Advance Camp, before being commissioned at graduation as a Second Lieutenant in the Army.
“A lot of what you train for during your education is going down there to perform well. Physical training in the morning, class lectures and our Wednesday labs help prepare us,” said ROTC cadet Konery Klueber of Rapid City, South Dakota. “Based on your performance, you get ranked for where you end up for job placing.”
The ROTC program, along with its affiliated campus club, The War Eagles, has many traditions at CSC, including performing color guard duties at home football games and graduation, helping shoot the cannon at football games, and presenting an annual Sept. 11 memorial.
In addition to campus activities, cadets are given numerous opportunities to participate in outside events and competitions. This semester alone, cadets participated in the Bataan Death March, a 26-mile ruck with a 35-pound backpack, in White Sands, New Mexico, Camp Rapid, a three-day training to improve on marksmanship and practice operations, in Rapid City, South Dakota, and the KU Ranger Buddy competition, a partnered physical fitness competition, in Lawrence, Kansas. The group also annually participates in the ROTC Army 10-Miler competition in Washington, D.C.
Many students have individual opportunities planned this summer.
Greg McCallum of Chadron, Nebraska, and Kalli Talbot of Rapid City, South Dakota, will both be going to Peru for the Cultural Understanding and Leadership Program (CULP). The 28-day CULP program involves humanitarian work and training with the country’s programs similar to ROTC.
Mitchell Parish of North Platte, Nebraska, will be completing an internship at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland. He said the internship will be primarily working with data.
“Aberdeen Proving Ground tests equipment the Army is using or wants to use in the future and provides outlooks from the tests to the Army,” Parish said.
Klueber was selected to fill the Mount Rushmore Battalion—consisting of CSC, Black Hills State University, and South Dakota School of Mines & Technology ROTC programs—Air Assault School slot. Klueber said he is fortunate to be selected to attend the 10-day intensive course in Fort Benning, Georgia.
“Air Assault School is training to inspect and operate with sling loads for helicopters. You learn a lot about the different helicopters the Army works with, their carrying capacities, and their capabilities. It finishes with rappellingout of helicopters,” Klueber said.
Klammer will be in Fort Benning, Georgia, attending Airborne School. The three-week jump school will include one week on the ground, one week of jumping off towers and the final week jumping out of aircraft.
“I was competing along with one student nominated from each of the 40 schools that are part of the Third Brigade for the slot. I am very fortunate to be able to attend the school,” Klammer said.
Parish said a lot of ROTC opportunities would not be possible without CSC’s support.
“The support of Chadron State College has helped the ROTC program get on the map at a national level. We are competing with all of the largest universities in the nation,” Parish said. “There are always opportunities, and we are always looking for more.”
—Kelsey R. Brummels, College Relations