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Jenkins joins ROTC for early run

Ryan Sydlik | Wednesday, October 25, 2006

In Tuesday’s morning’s chilly air, University President Father John Jenkins and Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves ran with the Notre Dame ROTC students from all military branches in the second annual United States Notre Dame Tri-Military Command Run.

The run began and ended near Pasquerilla Center and lasted a little under a half hour. Its purpose was to emphasize the common bonds that students in the Army, Navy and Air Force programs share.

“It’s a wonderful morning for a run, [with] a little snow on the ground [to] get your butt moving,” Jenkins said. “We look forward to this run.”

As the tri-military commander, Captain Michael Neller was the official organizer of this year’s run – though he said the credit should go to the ROTC student organization that put it together.

Lt. Col. Kelly Jordan, who is in charge of Army ROTC, said the run was created to increase inter-branch unity, and he hopes it becomes a tradition at Notre Dame.

“We started it last year as a way to develop camaraderie and to emphasize not the differences among the different ROTC programs but the similarities we all have,” he said. “The Navy does different things, the Army does different things, the Air Force does different things, but when you look at us in terms of the entire University, we are far more similar than we are different.”

Neller explained that the ROTC branches normally compete against each other, rather than holding a unifying event.

“[Jordan] was a big advocate last year of trying to do more group [unity] things [instead of] having a football game against each other,” he said. “So we tried to create a balance of both.”

Jordan said he was grateful for the special guests that ran alongside the ROTC students.

“The ROTC students really work hard so it’s wonderful to have the administration come out and support us,” he said.

After the run, Jenkins gave a short speech to the ROTC students, emphasizing Notre Dame’s mission of service and duty.

“At Notre Dame, the ROTC program has always been a part of this University and has an important place to play at this University,” he said. “I think the major reason is that Notre Dame’s student body is about service, serving the community, serving the Church, serving the world in important ways. … Your lives – as candidates for military service – are about service too.”

Jenkins reminded the group of its continuing commitment to leadership, both at Notre Dame and after graduation.

“During your time here in ROTC, always remember that Notre Dame spirit of service and duty. Those are high ideals,” he said. “We expect you when you go forth from Notre Dame, to be leaders in your various branches of service, to be leaders in your communities, and to be leaders who have a sense of service and duty.”