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Sources: Lt. Col. Scott Bridegam, 785-532-6754, bridegam@k-state.edu;
and Lt. Col. Ed Meyer, 785-532-6600, edmeyer1@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Andrew Morris, 785-532-2535, media@k-state.edu

Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010

K-STATE'S ROTC PROGRAMS CONTINUE TO SHOW STRENGTH

MANHATTAN -- ROTC programs at Kansas State University remain strong and popular options, according to the programs' commanders.

Fall enrollment in K-State's Army ROTC program is continuing to grow, with 165 cadets active in the program this fall, up from 163 in fall 2009. Substantial growth in the program began in 2001, when enrollment hovered around 65 cadets, and has since expanded by 278 percent, said Army Lt. Col. Scott Bridegam, professor and head of K-State's department of military science.

"Setting new enrollment records has become the standard for K-State Army ROTC and is due in large part to the success that our battalion' s cadets are enjoying," Bridegam said. "Students interested in Army ROTC want to be part of a great program and K-State Army ROTC is known throughout the country as just that."

While enrollment in K-State's Air Force ROTC program dropped from 141 cadets last fall to 122 this fall, the program is drawing more of its target students, said Air Force Lt. Col. Ed Meyer, professor and head of the department of aerospace studies.

"Enrollment in the department's primary target recruiting group -- students who are already in college -- is up 900 percent, climbing from one student in 2009 to 10 this year," Meyer said. "I think the nation's poor economy and slow financial recovery increases student interest in the U.S. military and a willingness to serve our country. I also think the U.S. Air Force is naturally appealing to many students because of its investment in and use of advanced technology, and its reputation as the U.S. Department of Defense's high-tech service."

K-State's Army ROTC program continues to rate highly nationally, based on the U.S. Army Cadet Command's recently released fiscal year 2011 accession results, Bridegam said.

"Seven of our cadets were designated as distinguished military graduates, ranking them in the top 20 percent of the 5,342 senior cadets nationwide, with four of these cadets ranked in the top 3 percent nationally," Bridegam said. "These four cadets also finished higher in the national Order of Merit List than any other cadets in Kansas, and they were among the top eight cadets, out of 265, in the Big 12 Conference, including the No. 1 cadet in the conference, Kipton Burba, a senior in history from Ada, Ohio."

Along with Burba, who ranks as the 62nd cadet nationally, K-State's distinguished military graduates include:

Stephen Wiemers, senior in management information systems, Manhattan, who ranks as the 175th cadet nationally and eighth in the Big 12; Richard Stromberg, senior in political science, Sterling.

From out of state: Rosita Fregoso Alencastro, senior in social sciences, Chicago, Ill., who ranks 161st nationally and fifth in the Big 12; Jacob Piscal, senior in sociology, Toms River, N.J.; Rory Sharp, senior in biology, Ponca City, Okla., who ranks 166th nationally and sixth in the Big 12; and Jessica Williams, senior in English, Belleville, Wis.

This year K-State Army ROTC also had 20 cadets selected to serve as second lieutenants on active duty, and five cadets selected to be second lieutenants in the Army Reserves or Army National Guard. It was the second largest commissioning class in the Big 12 Conference, behind only Texas A&M University, Bridegam said.

"A sense of pride in our military community has also helped to increase a desire to serve in the Army, and therefore enrollment in Army ROTC," Bridegam said. "We live in a different world than our parents and grandparents. Sept. 11, 2001, changed our world as much as Dec. 7, 1941, changed the world for our current students' great-grandparents.

"Our current students have spent over half of their lives living in a nation that has been at war. Their decision to serve their country during a time of enduring conflict is a sign of just how great this next generation of future Army leaders can be," he said.