The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    ROTC teaches values, offers students leadership preperation

    The Army ROTC is not just about the military. It’s also about making leaders. The program is designed for students fitting the scholar, student athlete and leader mold. The Army ROTC is a college course that teaches leadership skills in all aspects of life, especially the military. When students graduate from the program they leave as a Second Lt. in the Army, Army Reserves or Army National Guard.
    “If students want to gain great leadership skills and in doing so make themselves more competitive in the job market, Army ROTC is the program for them,” Maj. Mike Smith said.
    Mississippi State University freshman Eric Tappy is a Cadet PFC in the Army ROTC. Tappy said when he was 17 he had little to no direction in life.
    “I wanted to take pride in myself and gain a little self-confidence. I decided to do what my grandfathers, uncles and my father did. I joined the military,” Tappy said.
    Tappy also said that after basic training, he had the drive and dedication to succeed in the military, college anything else that life handed him.
    “Most importantly I saw that the pride I felt for what I had done did not end with me. It extended into my family. At my high school graduation my dad smiled. At my graduation from basic training he cried,” Tappy said.
    Cadet Cpl. Nathan Hughes through the Army ROTC said he has learned and reinforced the essential skills that will continue to help him in all areas life, not just the military. Recently, cadets and even Maj. Smith have been asked if they were going overseas, what they were doing since the war started and what they think of the protesters and many other questions.
    “I would gladly go to war today in Iraq to keep my little sister from learning about terrorism firsthand. I would gladly go for anyone’s little brother or sister. All I ask in return is that while soldiers like me are away protecting you that all you do is to show a little support or sit down and shut up,” Tappy said.
    Cadet Cpl. Bryan Ward said he believes that having an opinion and being able to express it is one of the things that make our nation great. He suggested writing a congressman instead of formally protesting.
    “That way the rest of the world at least gets the initial impression that our nation stands united,” he said. “If you do protest, I ask that you show support for our troops. There is honor in doing both.”
    Maj. Smith said that the Army ROTC is still doing what it was doing when in began on this campus in 1917.
    “Nothing has changed. We are still making tomorrow’s leaders. We have had many distinguished individuals pass through these doors: Troy Middleton-WWII Corps Commander and later president of Louisiana State University, G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery, a distinguished congressman and a retired major general., brigaider general and Mississippi State Supreme Court Justice William Waller and let’s not forget Lt. Col. Jerry Dickerson, victim of the attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11.”
    Maj. Smith said those were just a few that came to mind, but that all graduates of MSU and commissioned officers in the U. S. Army are leaders.
    When he looked over the list of the 66 MSU students and others called to duty he recognized many names.
    “They are in my thoughts and my prayers. I feel privileged to know many of them and am proud that they are serving. So, our mission does not change, we are doing our part by being the ‘Best Leadership Course in America.’ Our doors are open, we are people with a job, an important job and one we don’t mind sharing. If anyone has any questions, comments or just want to drop by and talk, we’re here,” he said.
    Maj. Smith grew up overseas in a country that was much more restrictive than the United States. He said he remembers being told specifically that they could not fly the American flag at his high school.
    “I don’t miss the checkpoints every 30 miles or so, having to be checked when you leave one state going to another. Freedom. I believe that is why I decided to join the Army–my way of saying ‘thank you’ for the freedoms we have and privileges we enjoy,” he said.
    Maj. Smith also said he loves his job and knows he is part of an important team, making a difference and investing in the future of America.
    “This is truly an amazing nation, whatever you do, your walk in life- something we should be proud of,” he said.

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    The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
    ROTC teaches values, offers students leadership preperation