Western Michigan University sent nine ROTC cadets to Toledo University on Oct. 27 and 28 where seven of them earned gold and two of them earned silver in their competition for the German Armed Forces Badge.
The German Armed Forces Badge is awarded to the German army as well as soldiers of allied countries. It is one of the few badges that cadets are eligible to receive and one of several foreign awards approved to be worn on soldiers uniforms.
Among WMU cadets sophomore Bryce Gandy, sophomore Ian Kosaka, junior Aidan Reigler, sophomore Jacob Weise, junior Hunter-Morgan Thelen, junior Megan Clemons, and junior Steven Noonan were awarded gold badges; junior Brandi Rigel and junior Timothy Frechette were awarded silver.
The awarding of bronze, silver or gold depend on performance in eight different physical and mental events including the 100m swim (in uniform), flexed arm hang, 11x10m shuttle sprint, a CLS (combat life saver) exam, a NBC (nuclear biological chemical) gear test and a M9 25m shoot including five rounds.
The 100 meter swim was considered to be one of the hardest tests by students such as Brandi Rigel, who is majoring in dietetics, and Bryce Gandy, who is majoring in integrated supply management. Students had to complete the swim in under four minutes while in uniform. After the 100 meters they were required to remove the exterior of their uniform without touching the sides of the pool.
Captain Rhonda Owlsey said that the effort to train for this event was primarily student led. Clemons led the team of nine that were selected to compete as their NCO (Non Commissioned Officer). These nine were selected out of the 150 ROTC students that were contracted.
Gandy said that they did about two months of training to prepare for this event.
The ROTC program is gearing students towards military careers, yet Rigel says that making the grade is still made a top priority.
“Commission works on a point system and the greatest percentage of that is based on your GPA,” Rigel said.
The prime assignment of active duty is reserved for those with the most points.
“It’s always school first,” Gandy said.
Though ROTC is military organization, Captain Owlsey says that it is just like any other club on campus in that it brings forth opportunities to build relationships and social skills.
“We’re like one big family that sees each other way too much,” Gandy said.