Clarksville, Tn –-Twelve Austin Peay ROTC students – including the University’s first-ever cadet to go to the Jungle Warfare School in Hawaii – attended multiple training schools during the summer.
Austin Peay State University also sent its first cadet since 2006 to Army Mountain Warfare School in Vermont and the third and fourth cadets ever to U.S. Military Academy Cadet Summer Training at West Point, New York.
“Our cadets performed in an incredible manner this summer and helped our program remain one of the best in the country,” said Lt. Col. Eric A. Westphal, APSU’s professor of military science. “They are all amazing and truly set the standard for others to follow.”
Most Austin Peay ROTC students who attend the summer schools don’t have prior Army experience, Westphal added.
“This means that traveling and showing up to a military post, surrounded by a lot of firsts can be pretty daunting,” Westphal said. “All of them returned with some pretty amazing stories, which they proudly share with smiles on their faces.”
‘One of the most mesmerizing experiences’
Sophomore chemistry major Cherady Fine attended Army Airborne School in Fort Benning, Georgia, with Alden Marvin.
“For me, it was my first Army experience, I’d never been around other Army people or in an Army environment,” she said.
Fine recalled her first jump from an airplane, “I remember actually shaking hooking up the static line. But after that, I just thought, ‘All right, I’m doing this.’ You’ve just got to do it, don’t look, just jump.
“It’s definitely an adrenaline rush,” she added. “You look around and it’s one of the most mesmerizing experiences I’ve ever had in my life.”
‘I wanted to broaden what I know’
History senior Jakob Bertoni is Austin Peay’s first-ever cadet to attend Jungle Warfare School.
“When I heard that there was a jungle warfare school I was like, ‘That sounds like a really good opportunity and a really good learning experience,’ Bertoni said. “I wanted to broaden what I know and what this school could teach me that I could use later in life.”
‘More than I could ever ask for’
Nursing senior Michelle Demarais attended the Nurse Summer Training Program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
“A Navy captain was my nurse preceptor, and I got to do everything he did, his exact schedule every single day,” she said. “It was getting to play grown-up Army for a month, and it got me really, really hyped on what it’s going to be like to be an Army nurse.
“Being able to work with incredible medical professionals on a daily basis and being in the D.C. area getting to explore the nation’s capital on days off was more than I could ever ask for,” she added.
Here are the ROTC students who attended summer training:
- Jakob Bertoni, history senior – Jungle Warfare School, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
- Braydon Donnell, sociology senior – Army Mountain Warfare School, Camp Jericho, Vermont.
- Cherady Fine, chemistry sophomore, and Alden Marvin, criminal justice junior – Army Airborne School, Fort Benning, Georgia.
- Michelle Phillippi, management junior, and Herman Thomas, criminal justice major – U.S. Military Academy Cadet Summer Training, West Point, New York.
- Michelle Demarais, nursing senior – Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.
- Ross Barber, computer information systems senior; Sarah Brekhus, criminal justice senior; Brandon Dickinson, history graduate student; and Jertil Robinson, computer information systems senior – Cadet Troop-Leading Training at various Army posts.
- Liberal arts sophomore Jasmine Barrios, Dickinson and Robinson – Air Assault School, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
“Each of them showed me and my team that they deserved the chance to go out there and kick some proverbial butt while representing not only our program but all of APSU and the surrounding community,” Westphal said.
TO LEARN MORE
- For more about the Governors Guard ROTC at Austin Peay, visit www.apsu.edu/rotc.