ASU ROTC cadets begin Fall field training in wake of impending closure

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- The cadets in Arkansas State University's ROTC program got a chance to leave the classroom Friday for their Fall Field Training Exercises.

Friday's training could be among the last after the Army notified ASU last week it plans to cut the ROTC program after the 2015 school year.

The training was suppose to feature flight training with the Arkansas Army National Guard 77th Aviation Brigade from Little Rock. The National Guard had to cancel because they did not have access to a fueling station due to the recent re-opening of the government.

"That prepares them for leadership development and assessment courses and some other army training that they'll be undergoing once they commission as lieutenants," said Major Brian Mason, assistant professor in the ASU ROTC program.

Mason said they take the cadets to the field every Spring and Fall semester for training, but the training sessions along with the ROTC program will be no more after the 2015 school year.

Cadet Ashley Ward said she was very upset about the news and joined ROTC to better herself.

"To have a chance to serve my country and be an officer, scholarship opportunities and to be apart of something bigger than myself," Ward said.

And she is not alone.

"Teach you a lot about respect, responsibilities, and just great. It changed my life," said Jorge Garcia.

"It's a really good feeling to be able to look at someone when they ask you a question and know the answer and be able to tell them how to do it," said Cadet Howard Bobo.

Mason said he is proud of the work they have done with their squads.

"The ROTC program here provides officers for the active duty army, army national guard and the army reserves and we've been doing so for 77 years since 1936," Mason said. "We've got 13 or 14 general officers, a lot of statesmans coming out of our program and we're very proud of that."

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