ROTC appreciates veterans and fellow Bobcats while cadets exceed student section hype levels

The conflicting life of being a cadet and a normal college student at Ohio University can be overwhelming, yet, rewarding. Military Appreciation Day fell on the same day as Sibs Weekend this year. My sister happened to be flying across the country to see me but, inconveniently, duty called. I had to photograph the entire event and sacrifice a day with my sister.

PRE-GAME

Three cadets struggled to haul a massive flag to The Convo that Saturday morning. Cadets then had to conduct rehearsals with Master Sergeant Steven Henderson, one of our Military Science instructors. He used to be a Drill Sergeant. As a DS, your job is to yell at new soldiers at boot camp 24/7.

You can only imagine the fun times that ensued.

“Don’t let the flag touch the ground!”

“Curl your damn fingers when you march!”

The cadets rehearsed unfolding the flag more times than I could count. The veterans just smiled.

Veterans from a VFW post in Albany, Ohio, hold a large American flag with Ohio University Army ROTC cadets before the men’s basketball game on February 6, 2016.

Finally, all flag holders staged in one of the hallways that led onto the basketball court. They waited for their cue to march out. Senior Cadet Alexandra Hambleton coordinated with the Singing Men of Ohio, Title IX, and fellow cadets to sing The National Anthem together.

Before they sang, the announcer who presented the singers made a mistake. He said that OU Army ROTC cadets would be singing The National Anthem. He failed to mention SMO and Title IX.  This angered me a little since they made up the majority of the group. Kori Chenetski, a member of Title IX, said it was “no biggie.”

“I honestly didn’t really notice! I think the group of us who performed were more concerned about us being asked to participate in this opportunity! It was a wonderful experience!”

Chenetski says she had actually planned on joining the military for a while but was turned away due to health issues.

“I would give anything to serve my country, but sadly, I won’t be able to do that.”

She also says she read the recent article by The Post titled, “Opportunity for women to serve in all combat positions excites some Army ROTC students.”

“I believe it’s awesome that women are given this opportunity! I am still a bit skeptical of PT (physical training) scores not having to be the same standards though. I believe women are just as capable of reaching the goals and scores that men are,” Chenetski says. Speaking of men…

“I love a man in uniform,” Chenetski concludes. “My boyfriend rocks it pretty well!”

GAME TIME

After cadets dodged traffic while carrying the massive flag back to the supply office at Peden Stadium, they went back to The Convo to join the rest of The Bobcat Battalion in the student section. Junior cadet, Noah Nelson, was the “pit boss” this year.

“It was my responsibility to motivate and create a fun environment during the game. I made sure that I had the crowd and student section in the game and rocking the whole entire time!” Nelson proudly states.

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Cadet Noah Nelson celebrates in the center of the student section with fellow cadets after the Bobcats score a 3-pointer.

He goes on to contrast life as a cadet and student at OU.

“I am a huge sports fan myself and can be out of control at times, really like any Cleveland fan to be honest, and I catch myself saying some outrageous things. As a cadet though, especially attending games in uniform, is a little more difficult for me to do. I love to try to get into athletes heads and also mouth off to the referee now and then…who doesn’t?” Nelson winks.

The cadets are known for hyping up the halftime shows every year, according to Nelson. Last year, the Troy Pop Rocks Jump Rope Team performed. There was a coach from the Pop Rocks who couldn’t believe the cadets’ reactions.

“We were all looking forward for maybe a sequel of the “PopRocks Jump-Rope Club” but this group of boys and girls put on a hell of a show!”

This year there was a youth basketball dribbling team performance.

“At the end of it, they were so happy and into it that they started throwing us their sweatbands as almost a token of their appreciation. They loved that we were into it and they wanted to reward us,” concluded Nelson.

POST GAME

According to the Bobcat Battalion’s Facebook page and a press release, OU ROTC’s goals were to recognize those who have served/are still serving and positively represent their program. They seemed to have achieved just that.

Due to me being down on the court, I had to have my sister take this low quality picture on her iPhone from high up in The Convo to get the full flag.

Yes. It is funny that I “sacrificed” and did all this work only to see MY SISTER’S one photo get featured…not mine.

ANYWAYS…one thing that ROTC has prepared me for is sacrifice. You have duties to your country (or to a basketball game in this case…you get what I mean) and to your family. Once the duty is done, the reward is worth it. My sister was able to stay until Monday. We proceeded through the weekend spending hundreds of dollars (by we, I mean my sister because she’s 10 years older than me and has a real job) on alcohol and drunk food. It was nice to feel like a normal college kid again.

FINAL SCORE: OU 80 Northern Illinois 69.

Editor’s note: Caroline Pirchner is a senior in Ohio University’s Army ROTC program. Her duty was to oversee the proper presentation and unfurling of the American flag during The National Anthem at the OU men’s basketball game on February 6, 2016. She created all the photographs on this page except the one by her sister and is credited as such.

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