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ROTC hopefuls attend leader training course

by UofL Today last modified Jun 28, 2010 03:26 PM

Three University of Louisville students were at the ROTC Leader's Training Course (LTC) in Fort Knox in June to gain leadership skills that will allow them to join the university's ROTC program as sophomores.

ROTC hopefuls attend leader training course

Building a raft was a team-building exercise.

UofL's program has a reputation for excellence and a growing roster.

Sam Battcher, Katrina Sherwood and Scott Christman attended the four-week intensive classroom and field training course. It is geared to students who did not start ROTC in their first year of college but who still have at least two years remaining before they graduate, said UofL ROTC Capt. Saepyol Warren. The course allows them to "catch up" and align their military and academic levels so they can join ROTC at the sophomore level.

In mid-June, UofL Today caught up with Battcher, a liberal studies major who is focusing on Arabic, and Sherwood, a transfer student who will be in the nursing program next spring.

That day, Sherwood and a partner took part in a land navigation exercise that required them to find four points in the wilderness using information and instruments they received during the program.

"We were pretty accurate today," Sherwood said after the exercise.

A self-described "Army brat," Sherwood said she's "always wanted to help people" and that going through ROTC with a goal of entering the Army Nursing Corps is one way she can do that.

Battcher took part in a team-building water navigation exercise that required him and other participants to build a raft out of limited supplies.

LTC exercises, he said, had challenged him in areas he hadn't considered and also had shown his capabilities to be stronger in other areas than he had thought them to be.

The course, he said, "teaches you that when you're offered the tools, you will be able to find your way in life... but it's up to you."

UofL's ROTC program has a reputation as a competitive program, Warren said. It topped the Ranger Challenge in 2008 and was invited to the prestigious Sandhurst Military Skills Competition in 2010, where it placed highest among the ROTC teams.

Cadets also do well academically, she added, noting that four students graduated magna cum laude in May, while five of the 10 who commissioned at that time were distinguished military graduates, ranking in the top 20 percent nationwide of all 2010 ROTC graduates.

This type of success, Warren said, is drawing increasing numbers of participants. The program has 99 members and typically commissions 15 lieutenants each year.

ROTC is an officer's training program, but participants are not obligated to active service in the Army until their junior years. Before that time, Warren said, students can leave the ROTC program and take military science courses as they would any other course.

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