By Michael Wolfgang
Students at Youngstown State University can learn leadership and management skills offered through the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program on campus.
The Army ROTC program was established at YSU in 1950 as the United States entered the Korean War. Since the program launched, it has commissioned over 1,000 officers for service in the U.S. Army, according to the YSU ROTC website.
Kyle Ritenour, a senior public health major and military science minor, has been involved with the ROTC program for four years. Ritenour decided to join the program because he enlisted first in the U.S. National Guard.
“My recruiter came to me, and he also convinces people and tells people about the program,” he said. “It is a great program to be a part of. You build friendships and the cohesion with everyone here is just great.”
Jordan Hall, a senior criminal justice major and military science minor, has been a part of the ROTC program for three and a half years. Spring 2020 will be his final semester.
In May, Hall will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the army.
“I will be an infantry officer. I plan on staying in the army for eight to 10 years before getting out and joining the FBI or the [Drug Enforcement Agency],” he said.
Joseph Paydock, chair of the Department of Military Science, has been working in the ROTC for over 20 years and has worked full time at YSU since August 2016.
ROTC courses are one credit hour and students have no obligation to join the Army by taking a course. Courses include introduction to ROTC, introduction to leadership and leadership laboratories, according to the YSU website.
“You take an ROTC class every semester that you’re in school, whether you are a criminal justice major, engineering major or whatever the case may be,” Paydock said.
He said students can join ROTC at any time as long as they have at least four semesters remaining in pursuit of their degree, including graduate courses.
There are different ways that ROTC cadets can earn money. Alumni have formed scholarships and donated money back.
The program offers four-, three- and two-year scholarships to qualifiers. Scholarships include full tuition, a monthly stipend of $300-$500 and $600 in annual book allowance. The Carl Nunziato Scholarship is offered in honor of the decorated Vietnam War veteran.
“The amount of scholarship opportunities that this program has to offer is amazing, and every student has a chance to get one,” Hall said.
Additionally, the ROTC cannon crew takes pride presenting and firing the Civil War-era ceremonial cannon in support of YSU athletics and student activities, most notably during home football games.
“I would absolutely recommend the course to anybody,” Paydock said. “It teaches you about the Army and about leadership skills.”