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Monday, May 29, 2023

Army ROTC jump starts new member orientation

Dressed in their Army blues, members of UF's Army ROTC drill team tossed and flipped their performance rifles to kick off this year's new member orientation.

Army ROTC members demonstrated some of their tactical skills and military equipment Thursday afternoon at Flavet Field in an effort to get new members interested in the program and raise awareness on campus.

Unlike in years past, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, a Humvee and other artillery were also on hand to show new members what the program has to offer.

Lt. Col. Michael Rosamond, head of UF's Army ROTC, said the event provided hands-on experience for the cadets.

"ROTC is designed to take students at the University of Florida and commission them as officers in the Army," Rosamond said. "Our second mission is to help develop better citizens."

He said Army ROTC hopes to expand next year's event to include more helicopters and equipment.

The Army ROTC program, which is a college elective, combines classroom lessons and in-the-field lab training and contains three different clubs - Raiders, Ranger Challenge and Gator Guard, according to its Web site.

Second Lt. Jessica Catob, who graduated from UF and was commissioned this summer, said Army ROTC has about 80 members this semester.

At the event, each club performed a demonstration. The Ranger Challenge club members performed a rope-bridge demonstration, in which they tied a rope from one tree to another and pulled themselves horizontally across with their legs wrapped around the rope.

Chris Kell, a UF senior and the program's head tactical officer, said he hoped the event would end misconceptions about ROTC.

"When people think Army, they think guns," Kell said. "That's not all we do."

He said he thinks most UF students believe that participating in ROTC requires enlistment in the Army.

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The first two years of the program don't require a commitment, he said. After that period, a member can decide whether to continue.

Natalia Alvarez, a new member to Army ROTC and a UF freshman, performed in the demonstration and said she is already impressed with the program.

Alvarez said she joined the program because she wants to become an Army doctor. The scholarships were also an incentive, she said.

"From what I can see, they are going to teach me a lot of important qualities," she said.

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