Tuesday, March 07, 2006

ROTC Student Takes Issue

from Marquette Trib 2/2/06
By Ryanjon Milan
Freshman, Nursing

I am a freshman in the Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps program majoring in Nursing. Even though I have only a single semester of experience with the ROTC program, I already know that my involvement will develop me into a competent leader.

Robert Graf argued in the Jan. 27 Tribune that ROTC has no place at Marquette. He mentions St. Ignatius' conversion from a life by the sword to a life in the name of the Lord. Graf then claims that ROTC "trains young men and women to fight this immoral war" against Iraq. What he fails to realize, however, is that we are in a War on Terror. Iraq and terror are not synonymous. While ROTC does train its members to be proficient and professional leaders in the military, he fails to realize that ROTC is primarily an academic program where aspiring officers learn about teamwork, leadership, physical fitness, and the history and customs of our great military.

He then calls upon students to "rise up and tear down the walls of institutional militarism." In essence, he is calling for the termination of a program training the leaders and defenders of tomorrow.

The only thing he says that I can consider sensible is that "there is nothing inherently wrong with military training," but why not at Marquette? The four pillars of Excellence, Faith, Leadership and Service uphold Marquette's mission, and frankly, the ROTC programs are among the best sources of all four of these qualities.

Our training as cadets and midshipmen ready us to be unparalleled proactive Leaders striving for Excellence. We often volunteer on campus and throughout the community with a deep sense of service. In addition, the MU mission statement strives for faith in not only Christianity, for we are not an exclusively Catholic school, but also in "human intelligence," which is greatly fostered through ROTC. Therefore, removing ROTC from our campus would only weaken the pillars of Marquette's mission statement.

So Graf, while most ROTC members would most likely disagree with what you had to say, we will — and we literally do — defend to the death your right to say it.


At July 10, 2006 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I am the author of this article. I was really bored, so I decided to google myself, and I was surprised yet flattered to find something on me.

It is my presumption that you stand with Mr. Graf on this whole debate, and I respect that.

I only ask that you correct the school I am under. I am in Marquette University's College of Nursing, not Health Sciences. I know you got it off of Marquette Tribune, but they messed up as well.

Other than that, I am just curious as to how you felt about my article. Thank you, take care, and God Bless :).

At July 14, 2006 12:11 PM, Blogger CPFstaff said...

Dear Ryanjon,

We appreciate your comments and question. We have fixed your title to reflect that you are student of Nursing, not Health Sciences, which we had originally posted. Thank you for correcting us.

As far as your article, I believe it was well-written, but it missed Mr. Graf's point. Your response stresses that ROTC primarily exists in order to teach the skills of teamwork, leadership, and physical fitness, and you argue that removing ROTC would hurt the mission of Marquette because of this.

ROTC may train leaders, but it trains them to participate in the military. And the purpose for the existence of the military is to wage war. And people who participate in war are trained to kill people.

So I disagree with your statement that "ROTC is primarily an academic program." That is not true. ROTC would not exist if the U.S. Military did not wage war.

Leadership skills are good. Teamwork is good. Service is good. But all of these virtues can be found in programs other than ROTC. And none of these virtues are the primary purpose of ROTC.

I believe that Marquette, a Catholic institution, should not offer official sponsorship to any program that encourages its members to participate in a war that has been called "illegal, immoral, and unjust" by the Vatican.

ROTC cadets probably do many wonderful things. I do not disagree with this point. But doing these wonderful things does not cover up the fact that ROTC as an organization exists in order to prepare people to fight in wars, whether just or unjust.


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