Apr 28, 2009

Army ROTC: Send Me

by Josh Swanson

The Reserve Officer Training Corp Eagle Battalion at Liberty has graduated and commissioned 54 second lieutenants for the United States Army since 2003, according to Major Robert Foy, assistant professor of military science at Liberty.

This year, 11 cadets will be commissioned by the program, for a total of 65 officers.

Because Liberty has an Army ROTC program, those 54 cadets were able to get their college tuition paid for and Liberty also helps the program financially. Government scholarships are granted to cadets that contract with the ROTC program. These scholarships cover tuition, some class fees and a graduation fee.

“Liberty does give us money for the ability to conduct social and training events,” Foy said.
Office equipment such as phones, computers and daily supplies are provided by Liberty for the ROTC program according to Foy. If it was not for the ROTC program at Liberty, some cadets may not have been able to finish college.

“I came here in the fall of 2005 hoping to find a way to pay for school. I had no idea how it was going to happen,” senior Joseph Dekreon said. “I knew that I needed to work hard and prove myself worthy my first year, and that is exactly what I did. I remember times where I would just ponder to myself and wonder how in the world was I ever going to pay for four years of Liberty.”

Dekreon is going to be a chaplain in the Army. He will be graduating from Liberty with a Bachelors of Science degree in speech communication, and he will be attending chaplain training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina.

Paul Tillman is another cadet that was helped through an ROTC scholarship.

“My scholarship, honestly, allowed me to go to this school. My parents didn’t put money away for me to use for school, so it was up to me to pay for school. I thank God every day for blessing me with a scholarship,” he said.

Tillman is going to be an active-duty field artillery officer stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. He will be graduating with a B.S. in criminal justice with a minor in strategic intelligence studies.

In addition to the scholarship money that is given to contracted cadets, a monthly stipend is also paid to cadets. At the freshmen level, cadets make $150 every two weeks during the months they are in school. This money increases each year the cadet is in the program. By the time a cadet is a senior they are making $250 every two weeks totaling $500 a month.

Book money is also given to cadets each semester. A total of $600 is given to each cadet every semester for books. Stipends and book money are deposited into the bank account of the cadet’s choosing. If a cadet needs to spend only $300 for books the remaining $300 is his to spend as he sees fit.

The seniors that will be commissioned this year are Joseph Dekreon, Jonathan Edds, Robert Goodin, David Love, Drew Martens, Brittany Murnane, Timothy Shepherd, Brandon Smith, Joshua Swanson, Paul Tillman and Benjamin Walls.


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