Various U.S. Army Trucks were scattered on the stretch of pavement in front of Homer Babbidge Library as members of the National Guard spoke to students about careers that fuse college and the military for their third annual Branch Day on Monday.
The event was designed to allow current Guardsmen to answer questions for UConn students, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Cadets (ROTC) and the general public regarding military service and college, according to a press release.
“UConn ROTC provides students enrolled in Connecticut colleges a path towards commissioning as an officer in the Connecticut National Guard,” the release said.
A Black Hawk helicopter also landed in front of the Veteran Memorial on campus to signify the start of Branch Day.
Major Giancarlo D’Angelo, who graduated from UConn in 2003, said that there are many paths students can take if they have an interest in becoming involved in the military.
“People see the military and think it’s one thing. But there’s actually different jobs, like aviation, infantry, transportation,” D’Angelo said.
Students may enter on a four-year scholarship and take classes in military science, and then join the Army or National Guard when they graduate. Other students enlist in the Guard and later want to become officers, so they must take the necessary military science classes. It depends on what a student would like to do, D’Angelo said.
“We’re preparing the students to become officers,” D’Angelo added.
Each respective booth carried fliers titled “Money for College” and discussed how involvement in the National Guard includes free tuition to UConn, federal tuition assistance and a monthly paycheck, among other benefits. Guardsmen also handed out National Guard lanyards to students, as well as sunglasses and brochures.
Captain Kieran Shippee, who is an MS2 Instructor at the university, commemorated the efforts current UConn ROTC students put in daily.
“The students are putting in, for a one-credit class, a lot of time. They’re up there two to three hours a day tutoring each other and helping each other through the program,” Shippee said.
D’Angelo said students who are involved in the military and ROTC to some degree are still able to enjoy college and social life.
“They’re students like everybody else,” D’Angelo said.
D’Angelo spoke of his personal experience as a former UConn student who was able to balance ROTC life with being a normal college student.
“When I was here, I was [also] an RA, you go to basketball games, you work out at the gym,” D’Angelo said.
The Guardsmen also discussed the physical aspects of being part of the ROTC program, which factor into their training as a prospective member of the National Guard or Army.
“They’re waking up at 5:30 a.m. on a consistent basis to run around, do PT, and stay strong,” D’Angelo said.
The Guardsmen said the event will help attract students from all areas who want to contribute to the military in some form.
“We’re trying to break it down for the students and let them know the different options they have available to them,” D’Angelo said.
Taylor Harton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.