Sports Union November 2016 - Page 19

NOVEMBER 2016 | SportsUnion 19 The Call of Duty In the quaint little town of Northfield, Vermont, lies the oldest military institution in the country. By Matt Ondesko Managing Editor Norwich University It is the oldest private military college in the United States. The university was founded in 1819 at Norwich, Vermont , as the American Literacy, Scientific and Military Academy. It is the oldest of six senior military colleges, and is recognized by the United States Department of Defense as the “Birthplace of ROTC.” Ever since she could remember, Norwich University junior Cassie McCulloch wanted to be in the United States Army. There was just this “thing” about the military that intrigued her. McCulloch could have easily just joined the Army strai ght out of high school. But her parents weren’t as keen on the idea. So, instead of giving them a heart attach so early in their life, McCulloch was able to comprise. “Ever since I was 12 I knew I wanted to go into the Army. But my family really wasn’t keen on me enlisting,” stated McCulloch. “The best option was to do it at the same time. And Norwich was perfect for that.” Norwich allows the students to have the best of the both words. The university allows the students to live the military life but graduate with out going into the military. While most students don’t chose the option not to go in after four years, it still allows them the freedom to really decide if this was the right decision for them. Whereas the United States Military Academy at West Point has a mandatory fiveyear commitment after graduation. McCulloch looked into West Point, but felt this fit her needs a little bit better on the academic side. Norwhich had the major she wanted, while still having the rigors of academy life. “I did try for West Point. But I’m not a big engineering (person). I don’t like math,” McCulloch said with a laugh. “Looking back at it, I don’t think I would have changed it at all even if I would have gotten (in).” Ah yes the academy life. It isn’t for everyone. While the sign says Norwich University, they are training leaders of t o m o r r o w. They are the longest running military institution for a reason. The administration and staff are very good at what they do. Again, however, this life isn’t for everyone. It is a very difficult life to live – especially as an 18-year-old freshman. Between getting up early, doing your military training, going to class and any extracurricular activities you may have it is a very daunting task. Some young people just can’t handle the changes that come when your time is taken up for every minute of every day. Like most, the worse time is your freshman year. They need to tear you down to build you back up. McCulloch got through the rough times, now she is ready to lead others. “It’s definitely a challenge, but you know that when you come here,” she said. Leading others is what she is going to do. As a junior you are put in a leadership role. She saw first hand what that entails and the juniors “mentored” the freshman when they first stepped on campus. “When you are a freshman you have juniors that are in charge of you and they kind of make your life hell.” Now it’s her turn. She will make sure she lets the freshmen know what they are in for. But McCulloch also knows that her role is one of leadership. People won’t look up to you if you are more of a bully than leader. Leadership is important at any school, in any role. It is even more important when it’s at a military institution. Being leaders for tomorrow is what Norwich is none for and it’s what McCulloch wants to instill in others. “We teach all the incoming freshman the standard of being in the Corps of Cadets.,” she said. “Which is basic military edict. We teach them rank and how to address officers. If her days were busy enough, McCulloch is also on the Norwich soccer team. A standout out at Attica Central High School, McCulloch says the soccer team saves her “ass” during her freshman year. Military training can get very intense, and the fact she was on a team helped her get through some of the rough times. “I love the team. Soccer kind of saved my ass when I was a freshman,” stated McCulloch. “It was the only time we actually got away from such a strict lifestyle. I have just grown to love all the girls.” Now it’s on to her junior year. This is a big year for juniors like McCulloch. In the summer time she will do training to determine if she can get comminshend as a second lieutant in the Army. It’s a big step, especially if this what you are looking to do with your career, life. “This summer I have to go through camp,” stated McCulloch. “This will basically give me the green light or the red light to become an officer. Then my senior year you pick the top three branches in the Army that you would like and the top three places you would like to be stationed if you are given activity duty.” McCulloch isn’t the only one in her family to dive right in military life. He sister has also joined the Army. While one is in college and the other enlisted it’s still pretty cool to have a family member going through the same thing as you. “My dad is all about it (having two in the Army),” she said. “I think it’s cool. I help her out a little bit about basic Army knowledge type things. I think it is really cool with what she is doing. I’m proud of her.”