ROTC cadets commit to future service

Five cadets took an oath of enlistment Wednesday afternoon, promising to complete the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program and serve as officers in the future.

Proud · Five of the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps cadets pledged an enlistment oath Wednesday on the steps of the Physical Education Building. The oath means the cadets will continue their service with the army after graduation. - Kelvin Kuo | Daily Trojan

USC’s ROTC program has 35 cadets in total but five decided to take this oath this afternoon, Maj. David Jackson said.

“The oath is committing to be future army officers,” Jackson said. “After two to four years of training, they will accept the terms that they will be future army leaders.”

According to Maj. Robert Medina and Jackson, the cadets will graduate and receive an officer’s rank commission. Cadets will learn leadership, become ethical decision makers and train to become physically fit, morally straight and technically competent.

Sophomore history major Cadet Michael Lockhart has been in the army reserves for seven years. He joined the ROTC program after working in Iraq as a battalion motor sergeant and served there for 11 months and 16 days while working with vehicles and equipment.

“I think I had a really good experience overseas and I’m eager to go back in the future,” Lockhart said. “I love understanding why things are the way they are and hope to teach history at USC or work in the ROTC or army in the future.”

A first-year graduate student at the School of Social Work, Cadet Daniel Lee Burns has wanted to join the army since high school to be part of the social work military program.

Since his grandfather did not have the chance to attend USC like he wanted to, Burns said he is honored to be a part of the ROTC program here.

“I feel great pride in being here every day to do something and be a part of something,” Burns said. “If you didn’t learn values, you’ll learn them in the army. Becoming a good soldier comes with being a good person.”

In a San Diego school district, Burns taught many children who came from military families. This has prompted him to work with military parents, children who have lost families and those still dealing with that loss.

Another first-year graduate student at the School of Social Work, Cadet Hannah Stryker, also took the oath of enlistment.

“When a soldier enlists in the army, they make a decision to sacrifice their mental well-being for something bigger than themselves for service, values and country,” Stryker said. “When soldiers come home, society has a tendency to admit that war ends in the battlefield, but that is not the case as you see many soldiers bring the war with them.”

Stryker plans on working in the combat stress control unit, depending where the United States stands in the war.

“Given the incredible opportunity at USC, I’m honored to be a part of the U.S. Army and especially as a social worker,” Stryker said. “I feel that this is the best place for me and I can’t stress enough the need for military social workers and I feel like we can do more to help.”

Cadet Joseph Dombrosky, a junior majoring in public policy, management and planning as well as political science, also joined the ROTC program to serve his country.

“My dad was in the military and I always felt like I had a sense of duty to serve,” Dombrosky said. “I think that being in ROTC has definitely made me more disciplined and more confident. I feel more sense of pride in myself and my country in general.”

Freshman electrical engineering major Cadet Matt Zecchini took the oath of enlistment, and Cadet Sean Inkelaar-Cruz, a junior majoring in public policy, management and planning, will pledge next week as well.

Correction: 9/2/10 — A previous version of this story misidentified the school district at which Burns taught. The story has been corrected to reflect the change.