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Seth Cook ROTC 9-21-09 ROTC re-birth

Sweat runs off the brim of their noses and plummets to the gym floor as they run down-and-backs in Lampkin. Huffing-and-puffing fills the air as the cadets try to catch their breath during early morning physical training. It is hard to get used to, they say, waking up in the early hours of the morning and busting their tails, but in the end it is worth it. These dedicated cadets are the Army ROTC Company stationed here on campus; a company that, in the past, has seen a decrease of numbers on their ranks. In the mid 90s the campus had a battalion of its own, according to National Guard Liaison Rick Frese. But with the decline of interest in the program, the battalion was dissolved. Instead, now around three or four schools, including UMKC and Benedictine College, report to battalion headquarters at Missouri Western State University. The drop in numbers was not felt just on campus. In fact, the battalion as a whole has had to combat the on-going fight with fewer cadets. That is why, in the past three years especially, there has been a campaign to bolster the ranks in the area. Led by Lt. Col. Marcus Majure, the ROTC is trying to infuse a sense of enthusiasm and excitement about the possibilities of the program. At Northwest, it started with hiring Lt. Rick Frese as a

cadre, which is the ROTC teacher or official on campus. Frese brings a new feel to the program, having served only one month, and hopes that an ROTC official on campus can help unify and strengthen the company here. The biggest things thats been lacking, well since its been brought back up, is more of a presence here, Frese said. I think that just getting the word out about the ROTC program, and me being here on a full-time basis has already helped. Plus, with a cadre member we have somebody here for that support. You may get some students started, but if they dont feel they are taken care of then they wont stay with the program. Whether it is through a booth at an event or word of mouth from his cadets, Frese also realizes that advertising and promotion is key to the programs success. Cadet Capt. Adam Wright can already see progress from the company and battalion. It is definitely growing. We are still pretty small, but we are steadily increasing our numbers, Wright said. When Lt. Col. Majure came in there was only a handful of cadets, and now there are many handfuls of cadets, and so its definitely improving. Frese will be a big part of their efforts to rebuild and become the best cadets possible, according to Cadet Lucas Johnson. He supports us really well. He has taken some good steps to being a cadre. As long as we have a cadre here you can tell performance will boost up cause youve got someone

watching you, critiquing your flaws, any member of higher authority is definitely going to help, Johnson said. Theyre exhausted and starting to lag behind. A stern shout comes from across the room. Pick it up, Frese says. They all listen and they are back at it, grinding away. Thats just what hes here for.