category: Campus News

Carson-Newman Army ROTC cadets thrive in training, savor summer success

Carson-Newman’s Sammi Simpson, left, and Carson Tomlin at Air Assault School at West Point. The two were among several Eagle Battalion cadets who took part in training over the summer.

It was the kind of phone call Lieutenant Colonel Frances Young didn’t mind taking.

On the other end of the line: a cadre from another university offering compliments on how the Army ROTC cadets from Carson-Newman University’s Eagle Battalion represented the University during training over the summer. In was one of several similar calls she received.

“(They commented) on how our cadets stood out positively amongst their peers due to their encouraging attitudes, great teamwork, and overall resiliency,” said Young, who along with leading the Eagle Battalion, serves as chair and professor of military science at C-N.

The phone calls stemmed from summer training that took cadets across the globe as part of Basic Camp, Advanced Camp, Cadet Field Training and Air Assault School. From West Point to Fort Benning, to Fort Knox, and training in Germany, Carson-Newman cadets excelled – something that concluding evaluations reflected.

“We went from 54% outstanding and excellence evaluations last year to 87% this year,” explained Young. The effort earned Carson-Newman the top 10 spot out of 38 schools in their brigade – exceeding the United States Army Cadet Command average and Brigade average for evaluations. The five cadets who took part in Air Assault School achieved a 100% pass rate, a rarity for an ROTC program according to Young.

“I’m truly inspired by the cadets’ progress and their willingness to learn,” said Young, a 2007 C-N alumna and Dandridge native. “Achieving outstanding results is a testament to their hard work and reflects the strong support and guidance they’ve received. I am most proud of their character, leadership abilities in challenging times, and humility.”

Sammi Simpson, a sociology/criminology major from Knoxville, attended Air Assault School at West Point, as well as Advanced Camp. The combination was daunting, but one she says she was ready for.

“It was a lot, but our cadre here has really invested in each one of us cadets and was able to prepare me for the training,” Simpson said. “I participated in all of the extra training that was offered to me both physically and academically, and I believe that those programs really helped me succeed. On top of that, our cadre reached out to me throughout the two months I spent away at training with suggestions, support and most of all encouragement.”

Receiving such support didn’t come as a surprise – after all, Simpson had done her homework before joining the Eagle Battalion. After earning her associate degree from Pellissippi State Community College, she said she began looking at ways to continue her education without incurring student loans.

“I had always wanted to serve my country, so I was planning to enlist and then finish my education afterwards when I heard about Carson Newman’s ROTC program. I heard how, because of the size of the program, the cadre is able to invest into each cadet, and that was a huge influence in my coming here.”

Simpson’s story is a testament to an ROTC program marching strong toward the future. This year, Carson-Newman has 21 new cadets and has a record number on ROTC scholarship. There are 49 cadets compared to 36 last year – despite losing some to graduation. The number reflects the highest gain in the last eight years.

But for Simpson and many of her fellow cadets, Carson-Newman’s ROTC is much more than numbers.

“Even after I graduate Carson-Newman next spring, the Eagle Battalion will always be very special to me,” she said. “I have made wonderful memories, mentors, and friends within the battalion. To me, being an Eagle Battalion cadet is like being a part of a big family who cares and looks out for you, and you for them.”

Cadets who took part in summer training:

Madison Bales – Basic Camp

Madison Bean (LMU cadet) – Advanced Camp

Christian Cox (LMU cadet) – Basic Camp

Zyra Dew – Advanced Camp

Gabrielle Mathis – Advanced Camp

Kyle Nabe – Cadet Leadership Training, Advanced Camp

Hannah Ogstad – Advanced Camp

Samuell Orion – Cadet Field Training

Hannah Rhodes – Advanced Camp

Jacob Schumacher – Air Assault

Justin Schumacher – Air Assault

Grant Shrader – Cadet OPFOR Experience, Air Assault

Zachary Sexton – Cadet Leadership Training, Advanced Camp

Sammi Simpson – Air Assault, Advanced Camp

Zachary Taylor – Cadet Field Training

Carson Tomlin – Air Assault

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