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ROTC conducts frosh training on campus

Jen Rowling | Saturday, August 21, 2004

From waking up at dawn for intense training to bonding over pizza parties in the evening, freshman ROTC cadets collaborated on campus for the first time this week.Comprised of students from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross, Indiana University-South Bend, Bethel College and Valparaiso, the three ROTC divisions – Air Force, Army and Navy – facilitated individual orientation week schedules.Thirteen Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students compose this year’s freshmen Army ROTC class. While their orientation began with the issuance of cadet uniforms, a pizza party and a game of football, the excitement was soon replaced with physical training at 5:30 a.m. the next morning. Endurance activities, including rock climbing and rope climbing across St. Mary’s Lake, challenged the young cadets. A Humvee military vehicle equipped with a missile launcher, machine gun and grenade launcher was also on display for the incoming class. Throughout the week, freshmen learned important skills with gas masks, hand grenades, camouflage and night vision.”When the freshmen first got here, they were shy, [but] as the week went by they opened up,” said Army Second Lieutenant Mike Bielecki. “They do have trouble getting up early – it is a big change from high school sleeping in.”Commander Mike Zenk of the Air Force division said incoming freshmen are required to take a standardized test similar to the SAT. This assessment includes evaluation on pilot and navigation skills. “They seem like a good motivated group of students, I have seen progress in just a few days,” Zenk said regarding the incoming Air Force class which includes approximately 30 students from SMC and ND. Cadets appeared anxious and excited about their new positions in ROTC. “I want to become an officer, I will probably end up making a career out of it,” said Lance Lovejoy of the Army division.”I am having a blast,” said Hayden Piscal of the Army division. “The army will teach me important leadership and discipline skills assisting me in whatever I decide to do with my life.”