A-State ROTC fate still up for discussion
Published: Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 19:10
With the ROTC program set to close in 2015, much of the community has expressed disappointment. However, the most affected are the instructors and students of the ROTC program itself.
Lt. Col. Cecil Clark, professor of military science, said he was shocked when he received the news.
“(It) took me completely by surprise,” Clark said.
After going on his third year as a part of the ROTC program, Clark said he thought the program would “go on forever.”
“As an instructor, I’m disappointed. As an Army officer, I kind of understand the ‘big Army’s’ strategy with having to move resources around to meet their goals. So I understand what the Army is trying to accomplish,” Clark said.
“Specifically the Army looked at 10 years, five years and three years and all they did was look at data. They made it clear that they didn’t consider all of the resources that we have here,” Clark said. “They didn’t look at the university. They didn’t look at the surrounding communities. They looked at the raw number of officers that we have commissioned over the last five years, 10 years and three years and they measured them against certain standards.”
Clark said he didn’t know what those standards are, and also mentioned the decision was made at a national level, but the school and administrators were actively doing their best to have the decision reversed.
“This assignment is normally a three-year tour of duty,” Clark said. “Since I arrived in the summer of 2011, ordinarily I would have been reassigned to another job sometime next summer. However, even before the program’s closure was announced earlier this month I had requested and been granted a one-year extension through the summer of 2015. I will likely be reassigned someplace in one of the combatant command J2 Intelligence Directorates or to the Army or Joint Intelligence staff at the Pentagon.”
The students in the ROTC program are also upset about the decision to end the program.
William Kazyak, a senior of Manila, said he has been a part of the program since the beginning of the semester but was taking physical training last semester.
The music performance major said he doesn’t have plans to join any branch of the military unless needed, but said he enjoys taking the classes to learn about the Army.
Kazyak said he is disappointed and believes the ROTC program is already “pretty visible,” but suggested writing congressmen to ask them to support the program at A-State and to encourage them to reverse their decision.
Josh McCormick, a sophomore creative media production major of Jonesboro, said he is dismayed about the judgment. Unlike Kazyak, McCormick said he was already a member of the National Guard and was attending college solely for the ROTC program. Now McCormick said he fears this may mean transferring.
“Any kind of support that can be put out there needs to help,” McCormick said.
He and others in the program believe the decision can be overturned and the program can potentially be saved.