By Briana Brady, Staff Writer—
Jon White is a senior at UTC whose involvement with the ROTC program has been an integral part of his experience at the school.
Jon first came to UTC not intending to join ROTC, but after being encouraged to join by some friends he met on a rafting trip with ROTC a bit into his first semester, Jon signed up and never looked back.
On a day to day basis, duties in ROTC vary by year and status. According to Jon, for the first year or so (while in MS1), basic duties and expectations are to show up at the correct place and time and learn the basics of Army duties.
After fulfilling that role, members move up to MS2, in which Jon had the opportunity to become a platoon sergeant (and later, platoon leader) and gain overall responsibilities and rank within the program. These positions, though, do not come without the expectation of higher accountability and leadership.
After that, junior year involvements include planning labs, teaching classes, and organizing field training exercises. These commitments are both time consuming and rigorous, which serves as preparation for senior year duties, which include overseeing training and taking on the role of mentor to younger members.
Jon has grown to understand that all of these expectations and responsibilities are part of a bigger effort by the ROTC to train the leaders of tomorrow.
“If you love this country and are looking to serve in the armed forces, ROTC is a fantastic way to earn a commission as an officer and get school paid for,” White said.
As a result of his involvement, Jon has had many neat opportunities, including the chance to attend and graduate from the Salbalousky Air Assault School at Fort Campbell, KY. He also attended and graduated from Advanced Camp at Fort Knox, KY.
Later this semester, Jon will learn which sector of the Army he will serve in the future. He hopes to branch Army Aviation and fly the UH-60, more commonly known as the Blackhawk.
Jon says that while ROTC can be stressful and takes up a good amount of time, the opportunity to secure a job upon graduation, make tons of friends, and build character as well as leadership is one he does not take for granted, for “it has definitely made [him] into the man and leader [he] is today.”