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ROTC Paves Paths to Future for Students

May 28, 2010

Three 2010 graduates of Mount Union College – Brett Baker, Nick Miguel and Bob Dlwgosh – came to college four years ago for similar reasons but are leaving campus on very different paths.

A family history of military service is what led all three men to the Army ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) program at Mount Union. “My family has always been in the armed services,” said Miguel.  “I knew since I was a child I wanted to serve my country in the military.” Miguel thought he wanted to go to West Point like his cousin Eric, but after visiting he quickly learned it wasn’t for him. “I wanted to swim in college and I wanted a college experience where I could pursue legal education,” he added. “Mount Union allowed me to do both.”

                                     

One of the main reasons Baker decided to go through the Army ROTC program was because his older brother went to West Point. “I asked him if I should apply (to West Point),” said Baker. “But he wanted me to have a traditional college experience.” His brother encouraged him to look at other colleges such as Mount Union, University of Dayton and The Ohio State University. “I knew I wanted to play football,” he added. “So I thought, where else but Mount Union?”

Similarly, Dlwogh also has a family history of being in the military. “I have always wanted to be a part of it,” he said. “I also knew I needed financial assistance to pay for a private school. Out of the schools that offered me military scholarships, Mount Union caught my interest because I really liked the idea of being a part of something new and working to build a program from scratch.”

In 2006 when the students first arrived on Mount Union’s campus, the Army ROTC program officially began and this past May they were the first students to graduate from the program and were commissioned as second lieutenants into the Army. Army ROTC, a program run by the Department of Defense, is an elective curriculum that teaches students the fundamentals of being an army officer. “The program focuses on leadership, both the academic learning of leadership and the application of those skills in the classroom and in lab,” said Terry P. Michaels, Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and assistant professor of military science at Mount Union. “The objective is to instill in them the army values and the principles of leadership.”      

Elective courses that are taken throughout the years include leadership, problem solving, Army rank structure, time management, stress management, goal setting, land navigation, how to communicate effectively, leadership analysis, presentation techniques and effective briefing. Students also participate in leadership labs, physical training and field-training exercises, where they learn firsthand what it takes to lead others, motivate groups and conduct missions.

“We even conduct labs on cultural awareness,” added Michaels. “We teach the students that their (other cultures’) values, aren’t our values and their norms aren’t necessarily our norms.”

In addition to teaching valuable leadership skills, military training and discipline, Army ROTC can provide money for tuition and other expenses through scholarships. All three students were military scholarship recipients.

As the first graduating class of ROTC who helped to build a program on campus from scratch, the three have really bonded over the years and have gotten to know one another. “We’ve became great friends,” said Baker.

While making lifelong friendships, attending classes, participating in extracurricular activities and having an exceptional college experience, the three students learned a great deal both personally and professionally from the Army ROTC program. “Mount Union ROTC has taught me self-discipline, respect and judgment skills,” said Miguel. “ROTC has taught me that it is better to be the go-getter rather than the person who sits back and watches things happen. It has also taught me that just because you want things to get done it doesn’t mean you have to be mean about it.”

“I learned that sometimes when approaching a problem it can be impossible to find a perfect solution,” said Dlwgosh. “What is important is having confidence in your best solution and following through on it.”

A member of the Mount Union swim team, Miguel pursued a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice and minors in Japanese and pre law. “Criminal justice was more practical for a military role,” he said. “I have always been interested in law enforcement, and a career in criminal justice would be something I would like to pursue if I were to ever leave the Army and not pursue law school.”

During his college career, Miguel was a member of Phi Kappa Tau, Phi Alpha Delta, First Year Experience, Interfraternity Council, Student Senate and the Law Justice Association. A recipient of the Army Association Award and the Physical Fitness Award, Miguel will serve with the Ohio National Guard in Stow, OH and plans to attend law school. He will also begin his officer basic course in February. “I have always wanted to be a JAG officer,” added Miguel. “JAG is a lawyer in the Army, and after I complete law school I hope to switch from field artillery to JAG.”

While pursuing a business administration degree, Baker was a member of the Mount Union football team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and the M Club. A distinguished military student, Baker earned the General Military Excellence Award, the National Sojourner’s Award, the Sons of the American Revolution Award and the Physical Fitness Award. Beginning in June, Baker will be stationed at Fort Stewart, GA where he will begin a career in logistics.

During Dlwgosh’s years at Mount Union, he was a member of FLOCK and Alpha Lambda Delta. Dlwgosh, who recently earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science, will be stationed in Fort Eustis, VA and will begin his officer basic course in July. A distinguished military graduate, Dlwgosh plans to pursue a career in transportation. He has earned the Military Order of World Wars Award of Merit, the General Society of the War of 1812 and the Outstanding Student Award.

For students who are interested in the military, Dlwgosh encourages individuals to talk to others about the Army ROTC program. “Talk to the upperclassmen that have been doing it for a few years, and ask them to give you the real scoop on the positives as well as the negatives,” he said. “Take the time to feel it out for yourself and ask yourself why you’re doing it. It is not easy, and it does take up a lot of time. Make sure your doing it for the right reasons and that it is important to you, and it will all be worth it in the end.”

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