This year’s midterms are nothing compared to the tests of water treading, swimming, blindfolded dives and “gear ditches” that Seattle University Army ROTC cadets have to go through. On Saturday, Nov. 7, the cadets boarded a bus at 5:45 a.m. and headed to Fort Lewis to complete Combat Water Survival Training (CWST), a test all cadets are required to pass. CWST is one of many tests that not only challenges cadets to use their skills that they have attained through years of training, but also prepares them to become 2nd Lt. in the United States Army.
“CWST was a big confidence boost and I am excited to participate in the rest of the training events in ROTC,” said sophomore and first-year cadet Connor Midas.
Five-time winner of the MacArthur Award, Seattle U’s Brady Battalion has built an excellent reputation, and with this year marking the 100th Anniversary of the ROTC program nationwide, members are excited about the program’s many successes.
Taylor Firn, Commander Sergeant Major and junior at Seattle U, said he is proud to be a part of the ROTC program.
“[We] get to walk around knowing that we have done something that no one else has,” Firn said. “That is just self-pride that you can have and it doesn’t attribute to someone’s narcissism or high-ego, but it lets us know that it is something that you can be proud of and that it is something that you’ve accomplished.”
Casey Madayag, an ROTC battalion commander and senior at Seattle U, said that the Battalion sets itself apart from ROTC programs at other schools because of its small size—this year, there are roughly 50 cadets in the program.
“I feel that having a small close-knit community, we build a lot of cohesion and camaraderie,” Madayag said. “It’s nice to know that as a freshman I could be talking to seniors and seek them for mentorship and friendship.”
Madayag said there are some challenges that come with being a cadet, such as scheduling personal time and keeping up with an early schedule.
“That is the hardest part for me—just waking up early,” he said. “There are a lot of obligations and you have to dedicate a lot of time to ROTC.”
From the very start of their training, the cadets are put through a variety of challenges and tests throughout the year. Madayag said that the Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET) requires freshmen and sophomores to be exposed to the realities of Army life.
“The Army pays for them to go to Kentucky, and do a month of training that involves gas chambers, climbing ropes, [and] doing obstacle courses,” Madayag said.
One of the final and most expensive tests that cadets are put through during the summer of their junior year is called the Cadet
Leadership Course (CLC).
“It is very important that you focus and train for CLC, because the grade you get from CLC directly impacts whether you commission [in the military], what branch you commission into and whether or not you get active duty,” Firn said.
To further serve the Seattle community, the cadets work for Century Link Field as volunteer staff to provide security during Seahawks games and other events. Each year around Christmas time, the cadets host a toy drive fundraiser.
Firn said he wants everyone in the Seattle U community to understand and learn what the ROTC program is all about. He expressed concern that the program is left in the shadows of Seattle U’s athletic teams.
“The recognition for ROTC cadets is not very high,” Firn said. “You think about the recognition that athletes get and everyone understands what they do—but no one understands what we do.”
ROTC is not an exclusive organization, and there are ways for students who are not currently a part of the program to become involved.
“We are looking for people, especially STEM majors… we are looking for those in nursing as well—preferably juniors, sophomores and freshmen,” Madayag said. “They can talk to me…or talk to anyone
that is a cadet.”
Seattle U’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) has evolved from what used to be—an Ordinance Unit that required all eligible young men to enroll in order to serve the military—to a military science program that is open for all students to join. Seattle U cadets who step forward to protect our country oblige to the responsibilities required of officers in the U.S. Army and to maintaining the high standards of what it means to be a Seattle U student.
Editor may be reached at [email protected]