Should a semester of ROTC be considered?
The promise of a liberal arts education was the creation of an individual gifted with rational and intellectual capabilities. Liberal arts education was created by balancing courses in fields such as history, mathematics, science, foreign language, and literature with the intent of creating a well-rounded learner. But is the current curriculum including the diversity of courses needed to produce an enlightened citizen?
When my grandfather attended college in the post-WWII era, all males were required to attend one semester of the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC). The intent of this requirement was to ensure that every college graduate had an understanding of military service. This training also aided the military in the event of a need for a military draft. Every male college graduate would possess some proficiency in military skills. Since 1973, the U.S. Army has enjoyed and benefited from an all volunteer army. Even with the demands of the current wars the success of military recruiting efforts has made it extremely unlikely that a draft would ever be implemented in the future. Even though the need of developing an educated pool of potential draftees has disappeared, the benefits of attending ROTC courses have not.
Look at the impact of the U.S. Armed Forces on all fields of education. In English, would famous authors like Tolkien and Hemmingway be able to write such inspired works without the impact of wartime experience on their writings? With military officers having three times the likelihood to serve as CEOs of companies, can the business and management fields ignore the contribution made by the U.S. Military to these fields? Would it even be possible to discuss modern politics or history without talking about the vast impact of the U.S. Military?
ROTC covers a vast number of interesting topics that could benefit any student. The curriculum includes instruction on ethics, communication, leadership, goal setting, health, and physical fitness. These would benefit any student and also include fun and exciting events that are not commonly found in traditional college courses such as repelling, rifle marksmanship, and army field training.
Not only can you learn from the ROTC Cadre but there are several of your fellow students that are already combat veterans. Come hear about the experiences of Cadets, who are your peers who have already fought to defend their nation. Given the option to truly learn about history, I would always prefer to hear the stories of the actual veterans than read about the wars in a generic history book.
I am not asking you to join the military. I am very proud of the all-volunteer Army. But every student has free electives requirements that must be complete. There is no obligation to serve in the U.S. Army by taking an ROTC course as an elective. So I am asking you to think about how well-rounded your education is. Why not spend a semester learning about the unique population that has volunteered to protect and defend this nation?
Take a course that will expand your college experience and will challenge you in ways that no other college course will. Come learn how patriotism is more than just wearing red, white, and blue and celebrating national holidays.
If you walk away from the ROTC at the end of the semester, I will thank you for taking the time to become a better citizen and learn about the trials and successes of the military community.
But, there is a chance you may just find that the military can offer you ways to change and impact the world that few other fields can equal.