More than just the military: Wilkes ROTC


Nicole Zukowski, Life, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Multitasking, time management and withholding a strong attitude are all characteristics that students involved with the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, ROTC, at Wilkes have to balance on a daily basis.

Students who participant with the ROTC see it as a lifestyle choice.

“You have to have time -management skills. It is everyday actively focusing on your training,” sophomore finance major, Matthew Winger, ROTC Public Affair Officer said. “The ROTC  is always in the back of your mind.”

Wilkes University is one of eleven full partnership programs within the Royal Warrior Battalion. The Royal Warrior Battalion was recognized recently as being one of the top 15% of all ROTC programs in the country. Wilkes offers an Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC.

With Wilkes teaming up with Kings College, the ROTC is compatible with any major.

“We (ROTC program) have the truest diversity,” Cadet 3rd Class Michael McCleaf, junior chemistry major said. “We have people from all sides of the spectrum as far as student diversity goes. We have people from an array of majors and everyone takes part in different co-curriculars.”

“You are a regular college student in every sense of the word. It is just another aspect of your life,” Winger said. “It is almost like a club that you could get involved in.”

A very active club in that sense. Dedication, endurance  and perseverance are all needed.

“The ROTC permeates throughout all aspects of college. You think you have a switch for ROTC and a switch for regular college life but they kind of merge into one,” Winger explains. “The ROTC integrates into your life.”

The ROTC prepares students through a college-based program for training commissioned officers of the United States Armed Forces.

McCleaf describes the ROTC as a “four year internship program.”

At Wilkes the primary focus of the ROTC is to develop leadership capabilities in students and train future leaders for the Army and the American public in general.

“It (ROTC) is building and preparing you to be a better leader for your job you get when you graduate college,” Winger said.


The misconceptions of the ROTC


Do your days consist of training for the US Armed Forces and study at college?

Matthew McCleaf: “Alot of what we do in the Air Force ROTC is working with the community, in both a beneficial and active way.”

Can you name some community service projects?

MM: “To name a few, volunteering at the local soup kitchen and at the Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge.”

Is there ever times where taking a fun approach on learning happens?

MM: “Actually we just had some interactive team-building events. We had fun paintballing and then we had a bowling social. We will take part in the Veterans Day parade, which we will be in our in-service dress.”

Many conceptions about the ROTC is that you basically sign your life to the Armed Forces; is this true?

Matthew Winger: “There is nothing specifically saying you sign on the dotted line. It is complete volunteer. There is no jail time if you leave. We participate because we want to.”

MM: “I always say the strong don’t stay and the weak leave. It has to do with finding out what you want. Thats why I said this (the ROTC) is like a four year internship because you get to find out if this is what you really want to do. If it is the program will give you the opportunities you need.”

Do all students in the ROTC have scholarships?

MW: “No, I hear that all the time but not everyone gets scholarships.”

What would you say is the goal of the ROTC?

MM: “Other than preparing for your future career, Wilkes ROTC wants you to develop a life outside of the military so at the end of your career you have a sense of individuality.”

What would you say is the largest change in your life since joining?

MW: “It changes your character. There is a certain character or set guidelines that you abit by: integrity, service, honesty and excellence.”

For more information on Wilkes ROTC contact Matthew Winger at [email protected]