ROTC cadets fly high over GSU

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Cadets formed a single file line across the field outside Georgia Southern University's Recreation Activity Center. But it was no ordinary ROTC march. They were lined up for a unique ride for college students, in an Army Chinook.

"I was fortunate enough to go to Airborne training school this summer and fly in a C-130 but this is something different. Haven't been in a helicopter before," confided cadet Travis Alexander.

The 180 cadets came from the Eagle Battalion, which includes students from GSU, Savannah State University, Armstrong Atlantic, SCAD, and East Georgia College.

National Guard pilots, who make up some of the Eagle Battalion's cadre, explained how their missions run the spectrum, from carrying troops in Iraq or Afghanistan to disaster relief flights during Hurricane Katrina.

"Putting them in helicopters is something they've been looking forward to. This is just one of the events we use to help with our recruiting and retention," explained ROTC instructor Major Duane Fairfax.

The flight, no matter how brief, is a highlight even for cadets like Priscilla Weeks who have military experience.

"Not everyone gets to go on a Chinook and, even being in the Army, not everyone will get to do that. So, it's definitely a perk," Weeks noted.
And it's perks like this that help keep the Eagle Battalion one of the fastest growing ROTC groups in the country.

Copyright 2011 WTOC. All rights reserved.