After almost four years of challenging academic and physical training in Liberty University’s Reserved Officers Training Corp (ROTC), senior Alex Woody has been named one of the top 10 U.S. Army ROTC recruits in the nation. Out of 4,702 cadets, he ranked No. 8.
“I knew I wanted to do well, because the ranking system affects what you do in the Army, but I had no idea I would come out that high,” Woody said.
Between their junior and senior year, ROTC recruits are ranked nationally, based on college performance in ROTC training, GPA, professor evaluations, extracurricular activities, jobs and more.
“It’s a very complicated process,” said Major Robert Foy, director of LU’s Army ROTC and an Assistant Professor of Military Science. “The major component is GPA. Physical fitness is also important. Woody’s physical fitness score is 344, which probably doesn’t mean much to most people, but that means that he did 89 pushups, 100 sit-ups and ran two miles in 12:34.”
Woody is currently Liberty’s ROTC battalion commander and has earned both his Airborne and Air Assault wings, rare for a ROTC cadet, Foy said. He also serves as a Spiritual Life Director on campus. He has a 3.96 overall GPA and is a candidate for the Marshall Scholarship, a highly competitive honor that is only given to 40 or less Americans every year.
Woody participates in the ROTC’s Ranger Challenge team, which travels every year to compete against other college programs in the areas of marksmanship, physical fitness, road marches, obstacle courses, land navigation and more.
“This has put Liberty on the map in terms of ROTC. We’ve done very well in that competition, and part of that is because of Woody,” Foy said.
Even as a child Woody knew he wanted to enter the Armed Forces. Although he can’t quite put his finger on any one person or thing that inspired this goal, it was an ambition that remained unchanged when he graduated from his Bedford, Mich., high school in 2006.
“An Army ROTC scholarship came about, and that allowed me to come here to Liberty and pursue my military plans,” Woody said. “It’s definitely been a good experience, one that I am blessed to have. This makes you grow up a little bit faster. You have to get up early at 5 o’clock multiple days a week and go to PT.”
Woody, a Biblical Studies major, feels called to serve as an Army chaplain and plans to enroll in seminary upon graduating in May, along with 15 other Liberty Army ROTC cadets.
There are currently 126 cadets in Liberty Army ROTC, which operates as a satellite of University of Virginia ROTC. Woody’s ranking is the highest ever for a Liberty or UVA cadet.
Foy said Liberty is one of the biggest partnership schools in the country for ROTC, and Woody’s ranking “is the kind of thing that gets us recognized to the point where folks at a higher level might say, ‘They really should be a stand-alone program.’ I think it’s another step in that direction.”
Foy said Liberty has had a strong ROTC program for years, and he remains proud of LU’s cadets who serve their nation in this capacity.
“This generation of cadets fully understands we’re a nation at war and they understand the risk involved but they still volunteer to serve willingly and they work hard,” he said. “In addition to being students and athletes and leaders on campus, they put a lot of time and effort into their ROTC responsibilities.