By Joey Bruno, Contributing Writer —
Rebecca and Mason Beebe met in high school, and a few years later they became the first married couple in UTC Army ROTC program history.
The couple’s journey through the program began in high school where Mason first learned about ROTC from a classmate.
“When I was in high school, I was really looking into the military and looking at the different branches,” Mason said. “I met a guy who started looking into [ROTC] more, and I applied for a scholarship.”
He was then awarded a three year ROTC scholarship at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
As for Rebecca, she did not initially plan on going into the ROTC program, but when the ROTC program at UTC offered to pay for her Nursing degree in her Junior year, she capitalized on the opportunity.
Unfortunately for the happy couple, they will be separated for the next two months for different assignments, including the month-long Army Cadet Command program in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Mason is also going to Fort Bragg, North Carolina for Cadet Leader Training where he will learn the day-to-day responsibilities of an Army Lieutenant, and Rebecca will be heading to Tacoma, Washington for the Nursing Summer Training Program for extensive training with a medical unit.
Both Mason and Rebecca feel as if their time at UTC has prepared them well for their future endeavors.
“The most influential people during this entire process have been the extraordinary
Cadre, and the MS3’s, juniors, and the MS4’s, seniors, at UTC,” Mason said. “We have
classroom time where the Cadre is teaching us, but when we’re really learning the more
hands-on stuff of the Army, its the older cadets teaching us.”
Rebecca believes the personal experience with the Cadre is what sets the UTC ROTC apart from other programs.
“Depending on the school, if they’re bigger, they might have a harder time connecting with their students,” Rebecca said. “I think we’re lucky here cause we have a small program and typically we have two to three Cadre, whereas other schools have 12, 14, or 15 and it’s harder for them to form those relationships.”
Recently they both graduated from the Air Assault School, a ten day course in Fort Campbell, Kentucky in which participants learn to rappel out of helicopters and hook up cargo bags.
Despite the difficult nature of the detailed oriented Air Assault School, both of the Beebes said graduating from the school was one of their proudest moments of the ROTC program.
According to the Mason, Army ROTC has prepared them both for adulthood and post military life while simultaneously provided them with lifelong lessons about leadership and responsibility.
“You learn you’re responsible. Everything that does or fails to happen is on you,” said Mason. “Whether you’re there actually overseeing it or it’s something you didn’t even know about, if it happens under your authority, you’re responsible.”
Rebecca echoed Mason’s sentiment.
“I think knowing your actions affect everyone is a big thing too,” Rebecca said. “Knowing that whatever you do, especially if you’re contracted and you are going to the Army, you
can’t be lackadaisical and do whatever you think feels right, because it will have consequences.”