Barry McNamara  |   Published November 06, 2016


Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps is back at Monmouth College
  • Among the Monmouth students enrolled this fall in Army ROTC are, from left: Logan Duvall, Manteno, Ill.; Angelica Sartelle, Romeoville, Ill.; and Jacob Poore, Macomb, Ill. At right is ROTC instructor Sgt. Wilfred Cunningham.
Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps is back at Monmouth College.

A total of five students are enrolled in the program, which is conducted in partnership with Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill.

Monmouth last had a cadet on campus in 2011. The latest influx stems from the interest of freshman Jacob Poore of Macomb. Poore wanted to play Division III football, so he inquired if Monmouth would be able to renew its partnership with WIU.

“The program here had been dormant for a few years,” said Vice President for Development and College Relations Steve Bloomer, who is also a retired Army colonel. Bloomer is one of two Monmouth staff members available to sign off on the cadet’s physical fitness training. The other is retired first sergeant Andy Davis, director of campus security.

“Big army started drawing down,” said Bloomer, explaining the lull. “It wasn’t anything that WIU did, and it wasn’t anything that we did. It just had to do with a slowdown in the training pipeline.”

Poore’s interest attracted three other freshmen on the football team – Logan Duvall of Manteno, Ill., Brent McNutt of Ottawa, Ill., and Naulon Simms of Tremont, Ill. A fifth freshman, Angelica Sartelle of Romeoville, Ill., also signed up for ROTC.

Some of the five students’ coursework is administered at Monmouth and the rest is administered at WIU.
Sartelle said ROTC offers students numerous benefits, including character development.

“It’s a great program,” she said. “I like the more hands-on things we do, like learning to rappel from a building. But what’s also important to mention is that there is no commitment beyond college. I keep introducing that concept to people, because I think a lot of people assume that you’re required to go into the military.”

Bloomer said that even if cadets choose not to enter the military after graduation, they will still gain valuable leadership skills.

“ROTC is an incubator for developing skills – not just for the Army, or for your time at Monmouth College, but for whatever you find yourself doing in life,” he said.

For Sartelle, that could wind up being art restoration for a museum.

“I would like to get into that,” said Sartelle, who is a double major in classics and business and minoring in art. “My mother always wanted to own her own museum.”

But first, Sartelle plans to follow in her father’s footsteps.

“You can enlist for four to 10 years after college, and that’s what I’m planning to do,” she said. “My father is an Army veteran. I enrolled in JROTC in high school. I really liked it, because I knew wanted to be part of the Army.”

Sartelle said she did not anticipate the opportunity to attend college, much less enroll in ROTC. But thanks to a strong final effort in high school, she qualified for college admission, which then opened the door to ROTC.

“I ended up at Monmouth because I worked really hard,” she said. “I never thought I’d be a college student.
My guidance counselor said I needed to work hard to get rid of my situation. So I did.”

Bloomer said ROTC can be a great fit for the right student.

“ROTC is a way to answer a person’s calling to serve our nation,” he said. “In addition, it provides a niche opportunity that some of our students are searching for. It instills the discipline you need to manage being a scholar, or an athlete, or a cadet, and it really elevates your sense of self – your self-esteem. The Army has seven core values, and ROTC really instills that – things like giving of yourself for the benefit of others.”
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