Shippensburg University Army ROTC cadets and spectators removed their caps as a Blackhawk helicopter landed on the Shippensburg University recreation fields for the ROTC event Cadet for a Day Thursday afternoon.
The event is hosted every year to give incoming students a chance to see what it is like to be a cadet at Shippensburg University.
Following the helicopter’s landing, cadets poured out of the doors fully equipped with tactical gear, camouflaged faces and even rubber assault rifles. The spectators watched as the cadets then formed and executed a search and destroy mission.
The Blackhawk was joined by Stryker vehicles driven by members of the 7/104 cavalry of the Pennsylvania National Guard. The 7/104 also provided other vehicles such as LMTVs (Light Medium Tactical Vehicle) and even a vehicle with military washing machines.
After the demonstration, spectators received a chance to see and enter these vehicles, including the Blackhawk. The Strykers were equipped with an Mk 19 grenade launcher as well as an M2 .50 caliber machine gun that students were encouraged to physically inspect the weapons and get hands-on time with them.
“The coolest part was the Blackhawk coming down and the militarized laundry machine,” said Kevin Neavling, a high school student. He said he already planned on joining ROTC and the demonstration was the icing on the cake. “I planned on joining ROTC so I could serve my country, receive financial assistance and earn a higher rank.”
High schoolers shadowed the cadets for the day, and were given tours of the military science classes and the residence halls.
“The Raider Battalion aimed to show off some of our fun equipment and vehicles and motivate high schoolers to come out and become future leaders of America’s Army,” said Cadet Colton Abeling.
High schoolers left with a small tour of the campus a taste of what it is like to be a cadet in SU’s ROTC program.
Anyone with interest in the ROTC program can find information online as well as in Wright Hall.