Huskie Battalion cadets make NIU history

thumbnail-15It’s a big year for the Huskie Battalion. For the first time in NIU’s Reserve Officers Training Corp (ROTC), all 11 senior cadets have received their component of choice – how they will serve our country as commissioned officers after graduation. Nine will serve active duty in the U.S. Army, and two cadets opted for the U.S. Army Reserve.

Selection for active duty is a competitive process, with each cadet earning points for academic achievement, physical performance, and an assessment of their leadership performance and potential, explained U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jerome Morrison, chairman of NIU’s Department of Military Science. Cadets at all 275 national ROTC programs are assessed and evaluated on these criteria and compete for components.

“That all of the graduating NIU cadets received their component of choice speaks volumes of their potential as emerging leaders of character. Our Army is in great hands with these young future officers,” said Morrison.

For senior nursing student Breanna Alis of Rockford, receiving her commission means she will become a second lieutenant in December as an active duty nurse corps officer. She plans to become a nurse practitioner and make serving in the Army her career.

“Joining the Army ROTC program here at NIU was one of the best decisions of my life and I’m so excited to see what the future will bring for me,” Alis said.

Senior biological science major Madison Richmond of Batavia, said receiving her desired component will allow her to continue her work in the medical field. She is aiming for an educational delay commission that will allow her to continue her education to become a dentist.

Richmond decided to attend NIU and participate in ROTC while she was in high school. She wanted to follow in the footsteps of her older siblings, both now commissioned army officers.

“I knew NIU and the Huskie Battalion were the right choice over any other school because it is close to home and my family, and I loved the atmosphere of the Huskie Battalion,” Richmond said.

Ryan Lindeman, a public administration graduate student from Great Falls, Montana, has prior Army service as a medic and staff sergeant and hopes his active duty commission allows him to pursue a role in healthcare administration.

Lindeman offered this advice to potential students: “ROTC is something you should try while you are in college. You will learn leadership skills you will use in a variety of fields. You never know where it will take you… traveling, meeting people – it’s a lot bigger than you think.”

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