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      WIU ROTC grooming future leaders

      The Western Illinois University Reserved Officers Training Corps continues to be one of the larger ROTC Programs in the area.

      It formed back in the 60s and has grown in Macomb along with the needs of the military.

      This may look like a regular workout class, but these cadets are learning leadership along with their lunges. That's the word from Lt. Colonel John Drew with the WIU ROTC program and Chairman of the WIU Military Science Department.

      Click here to learn more about their physical training from KHQA This Morning.

      "You put them in leadership positions and you intentionally stress them in different ways," LTC Drew said. "Then you take a look at how they operate under that stress and make decisions. From there you help them with that decision-making and critical thinking skills and translate that unto the military environment."

      These fatigue wearing cadets will all be commissioned officers in the US army when they graduate. And while some answer the call to serve, others see the ROTC as a bridge to accomplish their goals. Click here to hear from a cadet during a workout session.

      "M y major is psychology and law enforcement," Laurkee Wiggins, Cadet Platoon Leader said. "My ultimate goal is to give back to the community and to other soldiers who are perhaps suffering with PTSD."

      " I enlisted a couple of years ago as a combat medic and decided to come back to school and finish my nursing degree," Amber Adams, Cadet Sergeant said. "What could be better than serving my country as an army nurse?"

      "I f you're going to try to be a leader, especially in college, this is the place to be," Zach Constanzer, Cadet Corporal said. "I was always interested in the military and finding a medium between football and military. This was the place to do that."

      Click here to watch cadets rappel off a building during KHQA This Morning.

      Others like Cadet Kyle Ward have enlisted in the army before, but joined the ROTC later to move up the ranks.

      "The Army is large, its got a lot of roles and it doesn't like to be stagnant," Ward said. "The army wants to see you as an adaptive leader and if you take the initiative to move forward, they recognize that and put you in different roles and that is why we have the fighting force that we do."

      Click here to watch more from a couple of WIU cadets on why they joined the WIU ROTC.

      So while they may not garner gear or rappel tall towers in their jobs after the military, these future soldiers agree the determination and leadership learned here is a springboard to any career.