Four MTSU students have made career decisions with little hesitation. That’s because most have known since they were youngsters that they wanted to serve in the military.
The four — freshman Alison Judkins of Murfreesboro, sophomore Ryan McCoy of Nashville, freshman Kegan Roberts of Summertown, Tenn., and junior Zachary Bennett of Louisville, Ky. — were sworn in Aug. 23 as full-fledged cadets and members of the Blue Raider Battalion.
The brief ceremony, performed by Lt. Col. Joel Miller, first-year professor of military science, was held outside Forrest Hall, which houses the military-science program.
“You are four who passed and met all requirements to become contracted to become commissioned officers after graduation,” Miller told the cadets just after administering the U.S. Army oath.
Earlier in the day, the four successfully completed a physical-fitness test that included two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of sit-ups and a two-mile run.
Miller later added that the four “still have to complete the program in order to be commissioned and serve as officers in the U.S. Army.”
Judkins, 18, a May graduate of Riverdale High School, said a high-school mentor, Master Sgt. Jeff Pick, “motivated me to be the best I could always be, and the Army’s always been in my family.” She said her father, is retired military, and a grandfather, cousins, “all my uncles and a few aunts” also served.
“Even as a little girl, when other girls wanted to be princesses, I was pretending to be a soldier,” Judkins said.
Judkins said she plans to study political science with a focus on public administration. She ultimately wants to enter civil affairs, which is a special operations group.
She is the daughter of Emerson and Jessica Judkins of Murfreesboro.
Roberts, a May graduate of Summertown High School, said he “always imagined being in the military and just being an officer would be an extra bonus. I will just try to do the best I can.”
Roberts, whose parents, Kathy and Kevin Roberts of Summertown, attended the event, said he will pursue the infantry and plans to major in history at MTSU.
“I want to make a career out of the military,” he said. “Doing that opens so many doors.”
Roberts said he used to watch the History Channel, which airs military programs.
“Being able to document it as you are going through it enlightens you on what was going on from a soldier’s standpoint,” he said.
Bennett, a Louisville, Ky., native and graduate of Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, Tenn., said he was influenced by his grandfathers, Kenneth Bailey and Jerry Bennett, both of whom served in the Army.
“At a young age, about 7 or 8, they got me to reading about great military leaders,” Bennett said.
The MTSU public-relations major said a military career “challenges me. I’ve always been the kind of person who believes that ultimate satisfaction is through yourself.”
Bennett has been in the program for two years, while McKay has participated for a year.
Miller said about 115 students will be enrolled in the MTSU ROTC program this fall. The Department of Military Science is one of 10 departments in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)