ROTC off to strong start at BVU

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
BVU ROTC Cadets Jahred Baxter, Yami Chavez and Bridgett Hasche at the recent training session held at Camp Dodge.

Buena Vista University is offering a new program this year for students who have a special interest in a military career.

The U.S. Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program currently has eight students enrolled with more to join in during the second semester. As the word is spread of the many benefits, monetary and personal, it is expected that the program will continue to grow, commented First Lt. Jared Gledhill, assistant professor of military science and officer in charge of ROTC. Gledhill also served one year in Iraq.

The BVU program is the only one offered in western Iowa and is a branch of the ROTC program at Iowa State University (ISU), where Gledhill graduated and completed the ROTC program. Other ROTC programs in Iowa are offered by the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa, Drake University, the University of Dubuque and Coe College. There are only 273 universities/colleges nationwide that offer ROTC.

BVU is a good fit for this program," said Gledhill. "ISU has a nationally ranked program. I see BVU working under that same model."

Bringing the program to BVU was a culminated effort by Capt. Matthew Stephenson, the scholarship and enrollment officer for the ROTC program at ISU; Dr. David Evans, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at BVU; Major Amy Price, officer strength manager for Iowa National Guard; Professor Peter Steinfeld and BVU President Fred Moore.

Gledhill has taken the military serious. He has had the opportunity to work with the ROTC program at ISU. Duties are divided at that university due to the larger number of participants. His job was to work with about 250 students during the fitness classes and with 42 sophomores in their individual classes.

At BVU, he runs the show and is quite comfortable - especially having the students that he has. All are dedicated. The lone junior (no seniors at this time) has taken on excellent leadership skills and is using them to the best of her ability.

He has learned over time that some students know exactly what they want from the military; others, often freshmen and sophomores, are still trying to figure it out.

While ROTC is a four-year program, a minimum of two years is required. Gledhill said that all students are given the opportunity to take part in the classes (with hopes of them wanting to be a part of the military.)

Read more of this story in the September 29 Pilot Tribune.

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