Oregon State University’s Army ROTC program, also known as the West Point of the West, is home to Cadets who all have very diverse reasons for serving their country.
Gustavo Narvaez, a green to gold Cadet, joined the program as a third-year student or an MSIII. He joined in order to make an impact as an officer on fellow Soldiers. “The biggest thing that made me want to join Army ROTC was just being able to impact my units and my Soldiers’ lives,” Narvaez said. Cadet Narvaez is studying public health with the health promotion option. He has three branches in mind that he wants to commission into. At the top, he would pick aviation because he considers it his dream job. Then he would choose medical services because it would support his degree and help set him up after the military. And finally, he would choose infantry.
Many Cadets come to ROTC with a scholarship paying for their education. Gus Senn is a third-year Cadet at Oregon State University. He came with ROTC scholarship opportunities for multiple schools and decided that Corvallis was better for him than other locations. “I got ROTC scholarships at University of Oregon and Oregon State and after touring both campuses, Corvallis was definitely a better fit,” Senn said. “I like the overall vibe of Corvallis. And this location, Corvallis had a better feel to it than U of O.” Cadet Senn is studying economics and wants to branch into military intelligence. “It's a lot of data analysis in economics and the study of how humans behave when they are set with certain expectations, so I think in military intelligence that's a lot of what you're doing here, there's a lot of data analysis and human study.” Senn said, “It goes hand in hand well because you're looking at certain data that you have and making decisions of what's happening next.”
Natalie Goldsmith is another third-year Cadet with a campus-based scholarship. Her ambition to become a doctor and getting the scholarship was the deciding factor for her attending OSU. “I had a family friend who did ROTC in college and she did it to become a nurse. And so that’s where I initially heard about it. And then I looked into the scholarship and that was the final thing that pushed me towards it,” Goldsmith said. Cadet Goldsmith's path is studying bioscience and planning to branch into medical services. Her overall goal is to become a doctor so that she can use her degree.
There’s a variety of paths and goals each Cadet has. Not one person is the same, where they came from and what they’re working towards. Cadets are free to choose whatever degree they want to pursue along with what branch they want to commission into. Being a Cadet is a priority on top of their education. Each Cadet is registered into a military science class along with a lab every week. They also do physical training in the morning on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Not to mention activities and hobbies such as clubs and sports Cadets get involved with in their free time. It’s clear that Cadets are very busy with their college and military lives.
“I feel like I’m involved in a lot of stuff that just takes a lot of time and so not a lot of free time. But I really enjoy like the community that I have in ROTC versus a lot of people struggling to find it,” Goldsmith said.
Cadets walking into ROTC find themselves with a supportive community of people who all help each other get to that end goal. And that end goal is working towards commissioning at the end of their fourth year.
“We have a really good program. We’re right there with the best programs in the nation.” Senn said.