Notre Dame ROTC to commission 47 officers
Liz O'Donnell | Thursday, May 14, 2009
Notre Dame’s three Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) will commission 47 officers Saturday in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
Lieutenant General Ted F. Bowlds, a commander of the Electronic Systems Center (ESC) at the Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Mass., will address the candidates during the Commissioning Ceremony.
At the ceremony, he will address members from all areas of the military when Notre Dame commissions 13 officers from the Army, 12 from the Air Force, 16 from the Navy and four from the Marines.
In his current position, Lt. Gen. Bowlds manages the ESC, which acquires command and control systems for the Air Force.
Bowlds has received many personal decorations, which include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal and Air Force Achievement Medal.
Courtney Collins, a senior Army ROTC member from St. Louis, Mo., said the program has taught her a lot about responsibility and the leadership that comes with it.
“[My ROTC training] has given me a stronger ethical base for when I go out into the real world,” she said. “Beyond the army, the situations I face may not be life or death, but I have the training and the background to deal with difficult situations.”
Battalion Commander Justin Figueredo, also a member of the Army ROTC, said he feels confident about the future.
“I definitely feel more confident from the beginning of the year,” he said. “Notre Dame ROTC does a great job preparing ourselves as leaders.”
Figueredo will complete basic officer courses at Fort Sill, Okla., and will then be stationed in Hawaii.
He credited his instructors as role models who have set the bar high for their students.
“The instructors serve as great examples,” he said. “They really give us something to model ourselves after.”
Reflecting on their experiences as a part of the ROTC program here, both cadets said the toughest part of it was the responsibility of leading their peers and friends.
“Leading peers was the hardest part because you’re telling your friends what to do,” Collins said.
She will undergo basic training at Fort Benning, Ga. before serving for a year in Korea. Collins said that it was nice to be part of such a tight-knit community.
“I think being a part of the community at a fairly large school was nice,” Collins said. “It was nice to have a community of people who have the same values as you and who go through the same experiences as you that other students can’t relate to.”
Figueredo said he has not only made friends in his division but has made friends in all the other ones as well.
“I have friends in the Navy ROTC program in addition to my friends in the Army ROTC program,” he said. “My roommate is even from the Navy ROTC program.”
Collins said the campus community made it easier for her to participate in the program.
“I’m glad the Notre Dame community is so supportive of ROTC, especially because there are schools where ROTC isn’t even allowed on campus,” Collins said. “The student body as a whole is very supportive of ROTC and it helps a lot.”