ROTC Arrives on Eau Claire Campus
By Tim Bartels, Bruce Fruechte, and Jeff Schmidt
The Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is wrapping up its first semester at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Currently 24 UW-Eau Claire students are enrolled in the program. Previously, UW-Eau Claire students interested in Army ROTC attended the program at UW-Stout.
UW-Eau Claire is one of four schools in the Northwoods Battalion, which also includes UW-Stout, UW-River Falls, and UW-Stevens Point.
ROTC is a college based, officer commissioning program. This program is designed to develop leaders in everyday life as well as in military duty. Elective college classes can be taken that focus on leadership development, problem solving, strategic planning, and professional ethics.
All majors are welcome to apply and encouraged to join, according to Major Eric Beuerman, assistant professor of military science and director of the Eau Claire program. Although ROTC trains cadets for military situations, students don’t need to be in the military to take advantage of the leadership training the ROTC has to offer.
“Every aspect of ROTC is designed to give students the organizational skills and real world experiences they need to lead others,” said Beuerman. “These leadership qualities will be useful in the military as well as any other field,” he continued.
The ROTC program is built on a three pillar structure, according to Beuerman. These pillars consist of education, leadership labs, and physical training. Each pillar has its own specific exercises that serve to mold cadets into effective leaders.
The ROTC program consists of eight military science leadership (MSL) courses designed where students study leadership theory and decision-making. Students typically take one course per semester during their four-year college career. Courses are one to three credits. All courses count towards the university’s 120 credits requirement for graduation.
Each MSL course includes a hands-on Leadership Lab where students can apply what they have learned in class. Students develop goal-setting, collaboration, problem solving, and communication skills by participating in activities such as squad infantry tactics, communication drills, land navigation, first aid, and weapons training.
ROTC cadets also take part in extracurricular activities, such as color guard, military ball, and Ranger Challenge, a regional competition where teams compete in physical and mental tests of basic and advanced infantry skills. These activities are designed to promote teamwork, but also help create a well rounded individual as well as give students opportunities to socialize outside the training environment.
Cadets must also stay in great physical condition. Monthly scheduled Physical Training (PT) tests measure a cadet’s ability to do push-ups and sit-ups, and run a distance of two miles. These tests make sure that the cadets are fit for the physical demands of their duties in the military after college. Other physical training the cadets participate in includes water training, ruckmarches and sports.
Cadets under contract after their junior year are sent to Fort Lewis, Washington to participate in the Leadership Development and Assessment Course, a 31-day camp designed to develop and evaluate the leadership ability of each cadet. The Leader Development and Assessment Course tests a cadet’s intelligence, common sense, ingenuity and stamina. These challenges provide a new perspective on an individual's ability to perform exacting tasks and to make difficult decisions in demanding situations.
Of course there is another benefit that draws people into the ROTC. Students in the ROTC program receive a $300-500 nontaxable, monthly stipend after they sign a contract committing them to serve after graduation in the U.S. Army on active duty or as part of the National Guard or Army Reserve.
In addition to the stipend, ROTC cadets under contract may receive scholarships that cover tuition, housing and other expenses, including airfare and tuition for international study.
Cadets are still just college students until graduation. After graduation a cadet under contract with the military is required to give eight years of service.
The ROTC program is a great opportunity for students interested in a military career. Even if military service is not ideal for you, there still are advantages to taking the program.
“While students join ROTC for a variety of reasons, they graduate from the program as a leader for life,” said Beuerman.
To learn more about the UW-Eau Claire ROTC program, contact Major Eric Beuerman at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the program’s website at www.uwec.edu/cob/rotc/index.htm.
From left to right: Tim Bartels (not pictured) is a junior marketing major from Rice Lake, WI;
Bruce Fruechte is a senior accounting major from Eau Claire, WI; and
Jeff Schmidt is a senior information systems major from Manitowish Waters, WI. They wrote this article for their BCOM Advanced Writing class.