ROTC barely passed Navy requirement

Katrina Filer, Staff Writer

ROTC was almost cancelled this year due to a Navy requirement that there be a minimum of 100 people in the program. ROTC began the year with 97 students with a deadline to get three more by late October. In late September, three students decided to join, giving ROTC just enough people to continue.
“[The minimum requirement] has everything to do with funding, and it has everything to do with Congress,” Chief Al Torstenson said.
Torstenson speculated that some recruiting problems may have been because new administrators were not aware of Liberty’s ROTC program and what kinds of activities they do and were unable to direct students towards it that could have benefitted from the program.
“[Freshmen] don’t know about us, because there’s no equivalent to our program at the middle school level,” Torstenson said.
Without ROTC, Liberty would lose its color guard, the ROTC choir, academics team, personal training team, and world-class air rifle shooting team.
Programs like ROTC are rare in the Seattle region, and many local events rely on ROTC for military representation. Losing ROTC would mean that neither the military nor Liberty would have as much effect in the community.
“ROTC gives [students] a sense of family,” Torstenson said. “As you can see right here, they’re having lunch here, this doesn’t happen in most other classrooms.”
Many students have claimed that ROTC has given them a tight group of friends and also helps students for experiences in their future.
“It’s helpful for future jobs and future social circumstances. It gives you an extra leg in for that kind of thing,” sophomore Luke Ransom said.
Senior Bella Oliver, the Cadet Lieutenant Commander, really connected in ROTC when she moved to Liberty as a sophomore.
“The three navy core values are honor, courage, and commitment. [My] commitment has definitely been influenced by ROTC. With us, if you sign up to do an event, you’re expected to do that event because it doesn’t really just affect one person,” Oliver said.
The loss of ROTC would mean students would lose a family and the valuable preparation ROTC provides for their future. Both Liberty and the surrounding area will continue to benefit from ROTC despite a close call with the Navy requirement.