ROTC goes white water canoeing

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It’s 5:45 a.m. Friday and 15 SHSU students are sitting in Army ROTC vans, with eight SHSU Outdoor Recreation canoes in tow. Why would these students be up at such an hourto go whitewater river canoeing on the most dangerous river in Texas. These students, members of the SHSU Army ROTC program are heading for the Guadalupe River for a day of X-Treme Adventure Training in whitewater canoeing. “All whitewater canoeing is inherently dangerous,” said Maj. Andre Dean, the Bearkat Battalion’s executive officer. “But our students have chosen to take a serious look at a very dangerous profession. We use this kind of X-Treme Adventure Training to help our cadets learn to discover their fears, face them, and then conquer them.”Our nation must have this kind of capable leadership in our armed forces, or we will fail our nation’s prime directive to the military, to ‘fight and win our nation’s wars’, no matter the personal danger,” said Dean.Dean said the ROTC takes precautions to ensure the cadets are safe at all times.”Of course, when we do this kind of dangerous training, we do detailed planning and run a meticulous risk reduction analysis to minimize all possible dangers,” he said. “No officer worth a commission would recklessly endanger the lives of the soldiers in his command. We do a detailed analysis of war-gaming the situation to consider all possible dangers, then conclude how we can best minimize all the most dangerous elements of the mission. Once the commander is satisfied that we have reduced all possible dangers, while still accomplishing the mission, we implement the plan with near-perfect execution. “That is what makes the military life particularly fun, doing many dangerous things as safely as possible,” Dean said. “We try not to have too many dull moments. If we train these future officers from SHSU’s Army ROTC program and do it right, we’ll have our nation’s future security well in place for the next quarter century when it is their turn to lead.”The SHSU students who went on this adventure training included one senior, five juniors, two sophomores and seven freshmen. “We are near the end of the semester and we did not want to adversely affect their grades, so we made it strictly voluntary, and asked professors to release them for this training only if their grades were satisfactory and their absence would not impose a burden on the instructor,” Dean said. All of the cadets either swamped in the numerous rapids of the river, or were swamped by their buddies between the points of danger. The cadets who participated in the day’s training included: Maydeline Portillo, George Lindsey II, Melissa Brown, Troy Gillett, Kevin Ridenour, Katy Litscher, Casey Tharp, Vanessa Moreno, Jared Silvrants, Brian Halpain, Gydeon Gilzow, Christopher Sherwood, Aaron Blackstone, Aurora Chavez, and Brian Erskine. Officers of the SHSU ROTC program are always looking for students interested in taking part in these types of activities and more.”If you can run two miles at a good pace, do some push-ups and sit-ups in a good time; or if you just want to get off the couch and get into shape and possibly join a profession that will keep you lean, and in prime mental and physical condition, come by and see us. We want to talk to you about being an officer in the U.S. Army,” said Maj. Rosanna Dolphin. “We also want you to go canoeing with us next year, or send you off to airborne or air assault school over the summer, where you will fall from the sky and qualify to eventually wear the coveted red beret. All we need is a minimum of two years (junior and senior years, or graduate school) of classroom instruction and some time with you training in the field. Sign up for our classes and we’ll see that you are well trained to lead a nation.” For more ROTC information, go by Academic Building III and visit with Capt. Bryan Heartsfield or Maj. Dolphin, or call 294-3805-1351. SHSU’s Army ROTC can be reviewed in detail on the SHSU Web site at