Not being "an Academy Graduate," I do so perhaps with a little envy, perhaps because I only went through six months of hell instead of four years, but I always do so with the highest respect for these young men and women who survive the hell and go on to become our future military leaders.
This is the repetitive world of war into which the young, especially in America's poorest schools, are being recruited, even if they don't know it, via JROTC. It's a Pentagon-funded program that ensures the country's all-volunteer military never lacks for new troops to dispatch to old conflicts.
If you serve or have served your country in one of the armed forces, then you are eligible for various types of educational financial aid. The options differ if you are in school, if you have already graduated but have not yet enlisted, or if you are on active duty or a veteran.
I follow the Sikh faith, which requires that I keep my hair long and wear a turban and beard. The ROTC recruiters said I would not be able to enlist unless I complied with all Army grooming and uniform rules.
Before getting into just how blatantly Christian and incredibly unconstitutional this "Christian run ROTC program" is, I need to back up for a minute and explain why I was looking at Wheaton's ROTC program in the first place.
In recent years, for-profit colleges and universities (such as the University of Phoenix) have heavily recruited veterans to become students. These institutions have a vested financial interest in doing so.
I daydream constantly about moving to Oahu. Amazing fresh fish, tropical climate, endless beaches, the aloha spirit! But as the fantasy becomes more and more real, fears creep in and my mind whirls with questions.
I traveled with IUP's ROTC to Camp Dawson to act as a journalist embedded into a military unit. Four of my staff members and I ate with the cadets, slept in the same barracks as the cadets and, in some cases, attempted to participate in the same activities.
Private military and security contractors are the military's equivalent of the American Express card: it cannot go to war without them. Of course, as anyone who has ever used one knows, every credit card is a problem if you use it too much.
I predict that ROTC on campus will lead to more and better understanding of what is at stake at our current political crossroads where the only people who may unabashedly talk about serving the public are wearing uniforms.