Rattler Battalion a lifeline for some

Photo courtesy: Dalilah Posley

Terrence Bryant, a fourth-year health major, says he was inspired to join Florida A&M University’s Army ROTC program because it helped him get back into school and earn an income while serving in the U.S. Army.

“I was struggling financially and in school quite a bit. I was close to being put on academic probation after my sophomore year. I decided to take a year off. Once I took a year off, I received numerous emails about enlisting in the military,” he said. “I decided to use that choice to get my life back on track and excel at everything I do, and I did just that excelled.”

The Rattler Battalion has helped hundreds of students with tuition and housing along with enlisting in branches of the military, including the Army.

The Army battalion on campus started more than 74 years ago. Since then, it has continued standing by the same mission statement:

“To commission the future leadership for the U.S. Army and motivate young people to be better Americans. Future leaders, better citizens, and military training are nothing new to those associated with the Rattler Battalion.”

Many students have financial troubles or face challenges staying disciplined in school. Some students might not come from a strong background or economic wealth. Joining the ROTC program is designed to pay for tuition and books and receive a monthly stipend depending on the applicant’s qualifications.

Students participating in ROTC in college can earn higher rankings in just a few months or a year, depending on what branch they decide to enter. However, all will be qualified to serve as an officer in the United States Army upon graduation.

Photo courtesy: Dalilah Posley

Asia Ronan, an S3 operations and training officer at FAMU, says joining the battalion was a fantastic experience. She says she gained a lot of information in the field she wanted to go in.

“Joining the ROTC program, I realized that becoming an officer is a much different experience in the military compared to being enlisted or manually enlisted. Getting the experience on campus is much easier and informing than learning in the military,” Ronan said.

Most students are discouraged from joining the military because they believe you will end up on a battlefield fighting in a war.

Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Everett says students should take the opportunity to join the program and give the military a chance.

“I feel like a lot of people should give ROTC a try. There are a lot of other jobs in the military besides what people see on TV There are over 70 branches with different things that don’t require you to go to the battlefield. Want to pursue civilian goals as well as healthcare or even a career as a fallback plan? This is where you need to be,” Everett said.

Everett encourages students to stop by the ROTC building to talk to soldiers or leaders to learn more about the program, what the Army is and what it offers.

“If you need financial assistance or don’t know what you want to do for a living after you graduate, we can help you out,” Everett said.