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On the Spot with three Army ROTC members

Daniel Crisman

    Senior political science major with a security studies minor Daniel Crisman has been in the Army ROTC program since he began his tenure at UNH in 2013.

Q: When and how did you initially get involved with ROTC?

A: I came into college knowing I wanted to join the ROTC program here. I had always had a fascination with the military but when my sister committed to West Point my sophomore year of high school, I knew I wanted to be part of the army.

Q: What are your plans for post-graduation?

A: So everyone that is contracted in the Army ROTC program is commissioned as a  second lieutenant. I am hoping to become an aviation officer.

Q: What is your favorite and least favorite training you do in the ROTC program?

A: [My] favorite is combat water survival training, least favorite is land navigation.

Q: What do you like most about ROTC?

A: My favorite thing about ROTC is the group of people I’ve come to know so well. They are my best friends and roommates.

Q: What is a particular Constitutional right that is important to you?

A: I think that the first amendment is the most important to me. I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Q: Do you have any other family members that are serving in the military?

A:  My sister is currently a field artillery officer in the army.

Q: What are some hobbies and interests that you have?

A: My favorite things to do are surf, hike and walk my dog, Slim. 

Q: What is your favorite Patriotic film?

A: My favorite patriotic film is “American Sniper.”

Q: What is your favorite thing about being an American?

A: The fact that I am free. Many people don’t realize the sacrifices that were made in order for them to live in such a free country.

In honor of Veterans Day, thank you to ROTC participants, along with those currently serving in the military and the veterans that have made the sacrifices necessary to protect and retain the Constitution and the freedoms we should never take for granted. 

Eric Vierkantvierkantright-copy

By Michael Valotto

It’s not easy being a full time college student. UNH academics are demanding and there are plenty of activities to thwart students’ focus from their priorities. Some students stack a full course load and accompany their curriculum with other obligations while pursuing their degree. Junior recreation management major Eric Vierkant has pushed his focus to aspire and achieve multiple ambitious goals during his time as a Wildcat.

Prior to his collegiate career Vierkant was awarded an ROTC scholarship. He said that his ultimate goal after school is to serve the United States Armed Forces as an Army Aviator.

“Aviation is something that really caught my interest right off the bat when I started ROTC,” Vierkant said.

Vierkant’s passion to serve seems to be stuck to him like the insignia stitched onto his battle dress uniform (BDU). Originally from Lorton, Virginia, Vierkant said that his father is a retired Army Special Forces operator. He said that he has two significantly older brothers, which allowed him to experience a different type of household environment.

“I think my brothers had more of a military life than I did,” Vierkant said. “By the time I was getting to the age of actually understanding what was going on, my dad had transitioned into [Pentagon] work.”  

Vierkant grew up playing highly competitive hockey and soccer, and was recruited to play hockey in high school at Culver Military Academy before transitioning to college. When choosing a college, he said that he couldn’t pass up the scholarship that the UNH ROTC program offered him.

Although energetic about his future as a Wildcat, Vierkant said that he was not looking forward to the New England cold weather. Once he got to UNH, he thrived. Vierkant chose recreation management as his major and said that it’s probably the best thing he could have done for himself because it was perfect for organizing all his duties and goals that he was pursuing.

“I think of it as business with more parks and recreation, arenas, venues, stuff like that,” Vierkant said. As a military officer, it is a necessity to be good at management, organization and leadership skills.  

Beside the daily physical training, combat drills and ample hours studying and preparing for his hopeful future as a pilot, Vierkant said he loves to hang out with friends, eat spaghetti, referee hockey and play intramural sports. He said that if he had the time to watch TV, “The Big Bang Theory” would be his top choice, but leisure isn’t a priority for Vierkant. He is always looking to be one step ahead and is always ready to accomplish the task set before him.

“You have to have a good amount of self motivation to do ROTC, let alone do it well,” Vierkant said.

Going into his sophomore year, Vierkant said that another goal came to his mind. He wanted to be a professional firefighter for the Durham Fire Department (DFD). The department’s building is adjacent to the ROTC program’s, so Vierkant eventually introduced himself to the fire squad and began going on ride alongs. 

Vierkant said that one of the first firefighters he met was Dave Blatchford.

“He is a go-getter,” Blatchford said of Vierkant. “He’s a good kid, he’s got his head on his shoulders.”

It wasn’t long before Vierkant went to the fire academy and received his fire certification. He has since been hired as a DFD call firefighter.

Remembering his first fire, Vierkant said that he thought, “Alright this is my time to go.” Excited, he ran down and hopped into the tanker, but as soon as he got there the fire was just smoldering. The firefighters on scene prior to his arrival had put it out, but he went in and searched the house to make sure no civilians were inside.

Vierkant fell into the fire department like a puzzle piece. “I think we are all the same type of people, we are all one big family,” he said.

DFD firefighter Ken Lundberg said of Vierkant, “He is great. He’s a pleasure to have around and is always willing to jump in and help out.”

“It’s a lot of work,” Vierkant said. “If you really want to be in this [firefighting] profession, you really got to work for it. It’s not an easy thing.”

Carley Rotenberg

By Jocelyn Van Saun

              Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, is a nationally recognized day to thank and celebrate the lives and service of those who have served and those who are still serving in the United States Armed Forces. For junior political science major Carley Rotenberg and her fellow Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets, the holiday has even more meaning.   

Rotenberg enlisted in the Army ROTC and went to basic training during her freshman year at UNH. She said it was the structure, discipline and leadership that basic training offered that she liked the best. 

Offered at more than 1,000 universities and colleges nationwide, ROTC is a program that lends young adults the skills and experience they need to eventually become officers in the U.S. Military. Depending on the institution, individuals can choose to join Army ROTC, Navy and Marine Corps ROTC, Airforce ROTC or Coast Guard split training. UNH offers both Army and Air Force, but each school differs on the branches they offer. UNH also serves as the ROTC host school for various New Hampshire schools.  

The purpose of the Army ROTC program is to train cadets to become officers after graduation. Rotenberg said she hopes to be commissioned as an officer, rather than a private, upon graduation.  

“I’ve always wanted to do something for the military, but always thought it was either school or military. So, it wasn’t until I got to UNH that I found out you could do both and it helps you pay for tuition,” Rotenberg said. While she has grandfathers and uncles in the military, Rotenberg wasn’t born to military parents like many ROTC cadets. However, she said that they still support her completely.  

Being in ROTC, cadets are required to take one four-credit course taught by past or present majors and sergeants, with the class serving as their active duty assignment. The course is taught in a classroom setting, with labs being held on Fridays.

These Friday sessions range from survival labs to drill and ceremony labs to land-navigation labs. The cadets had their Veterans Day lab on Friday, Nov. 4, as they and the sergeants that instruct them are given this Friday off. As far as fitness goes, Mondays are dedicated to running, Wednesdays to upper body strength and Thursdays to lower body strength.  

Rotenberg was also appointed as student body vice president in May. Between balancing this, schoolwork, ROTC and having a social life, Rotenberg’s days are jam-packed.  

“The only thing that makes it hard is that instead of doing everything during the day and then staying up late to do homework I have to go to bed early to wake up so early or I just crash,” Rotenberg said. Still, she said she feels honored to have the opportunity to serve while getting her degree.  

“Serving my country is something no one can take away from me,” Rotenberg said. “Right now, even though I’m just training and not serving overseas, to train to be an officer and someday serve after all of the people who have served our country in the past and gave their lives, is a huge deal to me. Especially on Veteran’s Day [for] all the veterans who have lost their lives and those who haven’t and are still serving, I owe them my life, my service.” 

Rotenberg said that she hopes to attend law school once she graduates from UNH in 2018.  

“Once I graduate law school, I’ll already be an officer, but I can re-branch into the JAG [Judge Advocate General] Corps, so I’ll be a military lawyer and a civilian lawyer,” Rotenberg said.  

 “[As a country] we’re innovative, we’re strong, we haven’t given up and we won’t give up. I know some people think we put our toes where we shouldn’t but all we want to do is help other countries if we have the means to and they don’t… I think we’re a country that cares about others instead of just ourselves,” Rotenberg said.

With some time off this weekend, she plans on heading up north to hike, weather permitting, to celebrate our country and those who have risked their lives protecting it. 

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