Today's cadets assess Corps
Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 16 - January 19, 1995
For Jon Griese, a senior in property management, the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets was the perfect lifestyle to prepare him for a career in the Army. At the service academies, everyone wears a uniform. At schools with only ROTC programs, students hardly ever put on a uniform.
"It's as close as you can get to a military academy while still having the civilian part of it," said Griese, regimental commander of the Corps of Cadets. "That's important because that's the real military."
Although Griese is the highest-ranking undergraduate in the Corps, he vividly remembers his days as a freshman learning the "nuts and bolts of living in a military organization." Freshman year was tough, he admits, but he always found a reason to continue. "Every person in the Corps has a different reason," he said. "I wanted to be an Army officer and I wasn't going to let anybody keep me from going in the Army." Griese is the one giving the orders these days, and he's intent upon conveying the importance of his Corps to the rest of the campus. "We feel that since Virginia Tech was founded as an all-military school, the tradition of keeping the service motto is ours," he said.
As regimental commander, Griese said his job involves delegating people to develop programs, obtaining tutors, and dealing with problems the freshmen may have.
He has also wrestled with the problem of freshman retention. When he addressed the incoming class this fall, he assured them that "they have 130 friends to begin school: How many freshmen can say that?" he asked. "They have a leg up."
While he encourages the freshmen, he also remembers to be truthful. "I tell them it's not an easy program. It teaches you a lot of things that civilian students may not learn," he said. When Griese graduates in May, the cadet colonel from Ft. Richardson, Ala., hopes to receive a commission from the Army. "When I leave, hopefully I'll take what experiences I've learned, such as good leadership styles, and poor leadership styles," he said. But he'll be looking back toward Blacksburg. Griese hopes to remain as loyal as the alumni from the Class of 1944 and others. "The spirit those guys have for the class and the school is undying," he said.
The sight of one of her "buds" brings joy to the face of Ranee Rubio, a sophomore in liberal arts and sciences. Rubio is a regimental staff assistant in the Corps of Cadets, who also plays clarinet for the Highty Tighties. A "bud," she explains is one of the cadets who enters the VTCC program with you as a freshman.
"Upperclassmen are always watching you," she said. "During freshman year, you learn to follow orders and to pay attention to detail. It's hard to do." Rubio can recall the first privilege she earned as a freshman. She could finally place posters on her wall. "As a freshman I was kind of scared," she said. "Next thing you know, they'd be jumping on your backs." Rubio said the experience brought her and her "buds" together.
"Once you get close to your company, it's hard to let them down," she said. "It's like a family. Each member counts." As a sophomore, Rubio said, at times she feels left out. She's not a junior or senior dishing out orders and she's not a freshman receiving loads of attention. "We're sort of lost, but still getting the hang of it," she says.
Integrity, discipline, and loyalty are among the traits Rubio has gained from the Corps, she said. She's also learned to keep a clean uniform, carry out orders, and follow the chain of command. "You can't go to your mom and have her call the general," she said.
The band affords her the opportunity to travel extensively, she said. "Band members are pretty precise and sharp," she said. "We're very military." Rubio, from Virginia Beach, plans to make a career of the military. "I hope to get a commission," she said.