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ROTC Units Speak About the Year's Accomplishments at Military Council Meeting

A picture of growing, bustling Army and Naval ROTC units was painted for key Old Dominion University officials at the annual Military Council presentation Thursday, April 29.

President John R. Broderick and other administrators heard unit commanders for both ROTC units highlight the achievements and efforts of their students, and stress everything the units bring to the university, both in volunteerism and the infusion of military dollars.

"We're very involved in the campus and in the community," said Capt. Mike "Breeze" Barea, commanding officer for the Naval ROTC.

A record enrollment of 249 Naval ROTC members at ODU this year, and another projected record of 253 students for the 2010-11 school year, solidifies the Hampton Roads Naval ROTC Consortium (which also includes Hampton and Norfolk State universities) as the largest such unit on the East Coast.

The ODU contingent of the consortium is responsible for bringing in $3.2 million worth of tuition, staff salaries and operating budget from the U.S. Navy. On top of that, the students excel in the classroom, boasting a grade point average of 3.20.

The Army ROTC also hit a record-high enrollment in fall 2009, at 295 members. Currently, the unit is 250 members strong, and is responsible for attracting $2.75 million worth of U.S. Army investment on campus.

Lt. Col. Bill Brown, commanding officer of the Army ROTC Consortium headquartered at ODU, said the unit is on pace to beat by 50 percent its mission requirement of preparing 16 lieutenants annually who are mentally, physically and emotionally ready to lead American soldiers.

"This has been an exciting year for us. We are doing great, and we're so excited to be a big part of a growing ODU campus," Brown said.

At the Military Council event, Naval ROTC officer candidate Jacqueline Gulla and Cadet Jay Irwin from the Army ROTC talked about their fellow students' contributions to the campus, outside the classroom. The list of activities tackled by the two organizations is impressive.

The groups volunteered for countless events and activities on and around the ODU campus, including color guard presentations at basketball games, running concessions at baseball and soccer games, and serving as parking lot marshals for football games. They also helped out on many charitable organizations' projects, including those sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and Toys for Tots.

"I continue to tell all the cadets, 'You're a student first, and you worry about commissioning (as an officer) later.' I think this year's classes are an example of that," Brown said.

Broderick applauded the efforts of the ROTC students and their instructors.

"The contributions of the Army and Naval ROTC units are not lost on anybody on this campus," the president said. "One of my sayings is that people judge the whole university by the part they know. And the feedback we get consistently is what tremendous representatives of the university you folks are."

Also at the Military Council meeting, ODU Military Liaison Capt. Dick Whalen made a presentation on the military's footprint at ODU.

Currently, Old Dominion is listed is one of the top 100 military-friendly colleges and universities in the United States, and ranks eighth in the entire nation in the number of enrollees on the Post 9-11 GI Bill.

Whalen also pointed out that both the Army and Naval ROTC units at ODU had instructors chosen as national instructor of the year in 2010, Maj. Michael G. Summers for the Army ROTC, Lt. Bill "Bilbo" Burke for the NROTC.

Both Brown and Barea are moving on to new assignments by the end of the summer. Broderick thanked them for their commitment to their units, and to ODU.

"Bill and Breeze will be as difficult to replace as anybody we've ever lost from Old Dominion University. I seriously can't thank you enough for everything you've done for the school."

Turning to speak to the officer candidates, Broderick said: "You really are splendid representatives of the uniforms that you wear, but you're also splendid representatives of the university itself."

This article was posted on: April 30, 2010

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