Angel Latham earned her wings – literally.
The NIU College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS) student and NIU Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadet successfully completed the U.S. Army Air Assault School training in Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, this summer.
“Earning my wings meant a lot to me,” said Latham, who is majoring in Health Sciences-Pre-Physical Therapy and minoring in Military Science and Southeast Asian Studies. “I remember going into the course nervous, but I’m the type of person that doesn’t like the idea of failure.”
The Air Assault training focuses on the mastery of rappelling techniques and using Army rotary wing aircraft to conduct aerial missions. During the 10-day course, students must complete a multitude of tasks that are physically and mentally demanding.
“That included getting over my fear of heights to prove how determined I am,” Latham said. “I couldn’t be prouder of myself.”
Lt. Col. Andrew Spring, chair of NIU Department of Military Science, said he wasn’t surprised by Latham’s success.
“Cadet Latham was selected to attend based on her record of excellence and knowing that she can achieve any task to which she sets her mind,” Spring said. “These skills of intense concentration and commitment, combined with the physical demands of fast paced battlefield operations, establishes the groundwork for Cadet Latham to be successful in all her future professional endeavors, whether in the military or in the civilian sector.”
Latham will begin her third year in the ROTC program this fall. The junior from Lockport, Illinois, said her involvement with ROTC has been an experience of a lifetime.
“It not only teaches you what it takes to be an Army Officer, but offers you a family and a home,” Latham said. “For anyone that may be nervous because they don’t have any military knowledge or experience, every cadet in the program will be there to help guide you.”
Latham said it’s their role – as future Army Officers – to take care of their troops.
“That is exactly what we plan to do with new cadets,” Latham said. “I love being in ROTC and I can’t wait to start back up in the fall semester.”