A desire to be a part of a team drove Dulcie Trottier ’18 to become a cadet in the Army ROTC program. Trottier confided in her friend Samantha Lamy ’18, her first year at Rhodes, telling her she missed high school sports, and Lamy recruited her into ROTC.
“I’m a detail-oriented person, but ROTC has definitely taught me how to see the big picture,” says Trottier. “ROTC really caters to one’s talents and knowledge.”
Rhodes has a long history of graduates joining the armed services. This history ranges from Claudia Kennedy ’69, who was the first woman to achieve the rank of Lieutenant General in the United States Army, to the establishment of the Red Black and True chapter for alumni who serve or have served. Accounts from present members of Rhodes ROTC as well as from graduates who did not find their place in the military through ROTC exclusively reveal the honorable ways members of the Rhodes community have contributed to the preservation of our nation.
Corporal Smith Stickney, who graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in history, joined the Marine Corps Reserves while a student at Rhodes. He left after his first year for duty, but later returned to Rhodes to continue his studies. He also trained once a month in Louisiana and was able to balance the military and college with support from both sides. While Stickney was in boot camp, he connected with Rhodes alumni who had been in the military and who sent him letters.
ROTC programs serve as the traditional path to a military career for many Rhodes students. Upon successful completion of the program and a degree, a Rhodes student can become commissioned as an officer in the military. This is made possible through the college’s partnerships with the University of Memphis and the Departments of the Air Force, Army, and Navy. The curriculum for the ROTC program is reviewed by the faculty of Rhodes and appropriate credits are assigned.
Trottier ’18 is majoring in political science with a minor in international studies. The team environment ROTC fosters appealed to Trottier and by her sophomore year, she had earned a ROTC scholarship that precipitated more flourishing in her college career than the already noteworthy training.
Her leadership training has already paid off. Trottier is also the president of the Kappa Delta Sorority. She says confidence is one of the attributes ROTC has helped her develop, as she has to be comfortable leading both her peers and superiors.
Trottier has trained with other cadets in Madagascar (Africa) in simulation where they worked with other armies in nations that the U.S. aids. Next year, Trottier will go active duty; she wants to be in the military intelligence branch. Trottier hopes to ultimately serve overseas.
Lamy, her first-year roommate, had a slightly different path to the military. Her father had at one time been enlisted in the Army infantry and military police, and she has always held the military in high esteem.
Lamy wants students to understand that joining ROTC does not mean enlisting in a branch of the military and that they “can just try it out” as she did. However after starting physical training and enjoying classes, she knew she wanted to pursue ROTC seriously, which transcended her other extracurricular activities. Lamy also is applying the confidence and leadership skills she has gained to other organizations she belongs to including Lipstick on Your Collar acapella group, Kappa Delta sorority, the Lynx Club, Literacy Mid-South, and St. Luke Homes & Services Inc.
A neuroscience major, Lamy will be going active duty after graduating from Rhodes. She says she hopes to serve within the medical services and later transition to civilian life where she can provide aid to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In addition to providing students opportunities to participate in ROTC, Rhodes also administers Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefit programs including the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Survivors & Dependents Assistance, and Selected Reserve. The majority of Rhodes students receiving VA benefits are dependents of active duty and retired personnel. For more information, visit here.
By Meg Jerit ’20