Students Pave Way for ROTC Program at King's

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Empire State Building, NEW YORK– When Nate Plumb ('13) arrived on the King’s campus his freshman year, King's had

no connection to the military ROTC program. Plumb has since enabled students to partake of the program while attending King's.

Plumb networked with Fordham University, which is affiliated with ROTC, to make it possible for students to attend King’s and be involved in ROTC.

While Plumb is no longer part of ROTC, he is still anticipating a future career in the military. Plumb balances his studies at King’s with those at the Officer Candidate School for the Marine Corp. Once he graduates from both institutions, Plumb will be a part of the military.

Plumb said he chose the military path because he wanted the experience and the chance to serve.

“I want to take the skills I’ve learned in the military and use them alongside my business skills,” Plumb said.

Plumb paved the way for current students Isaiah Hale ('15) and Matthew Washburn ('15), who are now a part of Army ROTC Ram Battalion, affiliated with Fordham and the Bravo Company.

Although Hale and Washburn are in the same program, they are at different points in the program's process. The military has already paid for three years of Hale's tuition, while Washburn is still applying for scholarships.

Plumb corresponded with Hale and his family over an eight-month period, providing them with information and contacts. Hale then applied for the ROTC scholarship and planned to attend King’s.

Senior year of high school, Washburn took the ASVAB test (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), which determines whether applicants are qualified to serve in the U.S. military. Washburn said the test measures intelligence in order to help indicate which sort of military job one should apply for; nuclear engineering, for example, requires a comparatively high score.

Washburn was completely qualified and scored high on the test, but he was told that there were no funds for a scholarship. With new military cuts, scholarships are less available than they used to be.

Instead, Washburn was advised to reapply for a two-to-three year scholarship his second year of college. Only 10 percent of students receive full rides. The top four students must compete against every army cadet in the city of New York. Washburn said he has to maintain a good GPA and stay in top physical condition.

Washburn and Hale wake up early for a physical training class at Fordham University, where they learn military tactics and the basics of military units.

Washburn says Physical Training (PT) is his “favorite and least favorite” thing about the ROTC program. Although he doesn't look forward to it every day, Washburn recognizes the benefits of staying in shape: “It’s tiring, but worth it.”

Hale trains in Central Park and attends military classes on Fridays.

“It’s pretty demanding,” Hale said. “They treat us like we're already in the army.”

Washburn often participates in "ruck marches," for which he carries a backpack eighty blocks through the city. He also does battle drills that simulate enemy assaults.

While Washburn’s goal is to be an army officer, he also plans to go to law school. Washburn is pursuing his goal with a major in PPE and a minor in pre-law.

“King’s is giving me the political and economic background I need for law school,” Washburn said.

Washburn ultimately hopes to become a military law jag officer.

Hale admits that the program is especially challenging in the area of time management.  He  wakes up at 5:45 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to arrive at Lincoln Center on time.

“I’m trying to get active duty,” Hale said. “But it’s really competitive.”

Hale wants to join the Airborne Rangers, a well-trained infantry force. Hale is also a PPE major, and he takes a military science class with the ROTC program at Fordham.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it if Nate hadn’t set it up in the first place,” Hale said.

CampusTiffany Klinger