BY Amanda de Lauzon
“You can tell your friends you go to Yale,” said Dr. Gary Rose, Professor and Chair, Department of Government, Liaison to Yale Reserved Officer Training Corps. (ROTC), in regards to Sacred Heart’s crosstown agreement with the Yale ROTC program.
On Feb. 27, Lt. Col. Holly Hermes from Yale Air Force ROTC, Detachment 009 came to Sacred Heart University to give information to students on the ROTC program, how they can join and what it takes to be a cadet in training.
Yale was one of the original universities to establish an ROTC program. When it returned back to the school in 2012 after leaving in 1972 it offered a variety of career paths in the Air Force. These career fields are in operations, logistics, support, medical, professional, acquisitions and special investigations.
According to the Yale website, the ROTC “…provides college students with the leadership and critical thinking skills needed to succeed as leaders for the Air Force and the nation.”
“There’s a lot of great opportunities if you jump on board and try military service first, it’s never going to limit you in anything else you want to do,” said Hermes.
Freshmen and sophomores in the program have three hours a week of ROTC classes while juniors and seniors have five. Along with this, everyone has weekly leadership labs and twice a week physical training.
Cadets have opportunities to earn scholarships for academic excellence, leadership and fitness tests and there are also summer trips they can go on.
Nursing students can also join the program and work towards a career as an Air Force nurse.
“The idea of working with military members and giving back first as a military nurse is something that many people wish they could go back and do,” said junior ROTC participant, Gavin Thurlow.
Students going into other medical fields such as physicians or surgeons can use this program to not only teach them new skills but pay for their medical schooling.
“Anyone going into a medical school would apply to all the civilian med schools along with the military med school, see where they got in and then go to the most expensive one because we’re paying,” said Hermes. “When you graduate from med school you will be a physician as well as a captain.”
So, what makes it difficult?
The students at Sacred Heart travel to Yale for their classes and wake up for their physical training that starts at 6 a.m. However, they do carpool and are given permission to have cars on campus. Along with this, they have early registration.
“It’s a commitment to even just train with our program and it’s not always easy,” said Hermes. “The students who are successful are the ones who are mentally ready for that when they start.”
According to Yale’s website to succeed as a cadet, one must “…have a positive attitude toward service, commit their time and energy and be willing to be part of a dynamic team.”
For any freshmen or sophomores at Sacred Heart interested in joining the program, you can visit afrotc.yalecollege.yale.edu to learn more about the requirements and interview process.
“There is a lot that this program does and it is certainly one of the best programs America has to offer for the development of people,” said Thurlow.