Stories @ TCC
TCC ROTC Students Take Training in Stride
The Armed Forces play a large role in the economy and lives of Hampton Roads residents. Addressing the educational needs of its diverse communities – including the military – TCC has long held partnerships with every branch of service, including the Army-ROTC program.
“Our partnership with TCC began in 1984,” says Lt. Col. William E. Brown III, who directs the Army-ROTC program at Old Dominion University. “Until recently we’ve averaged two TCC students per semester, but, with increased awareness, last year we averaged 25 each semester.”
Students begin participating in the Army-ROTC program while earning their associate degrees. Once they graduate, they take prerequisite bachelor’s degree military science coursework at ODU or Norfolk State. Upon completion they receive commissioning as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. Last year, TCC signed a memorandum of agreement to offer a similar program with Navy-ROTC.
The ROTC journey involves real-world military training and an array of exercises. Here are two cadets in the midst of their journey.
Derek Proctor knows military life – he grew up in a Marine family, with both of his parents serving in the Corps. “I was going to enlist right after high school, but I decided to get my degree first,” Proctor says. “I needed to pay for school, so this was a great route for me.”
Proctor earned his associate degree from TCC in 2007 and enrolled in the Army-ROTC program at Old Dominion University. While there he participated in the Ranger Challenge competition, held each fall, with dozens of schools represented. He gained leadership experience and earned a proficiency rating in rifle marksmanship.
Through the ROTC training, Proctor has given back to the community, serving as color guard during commencement, in the concession stands during sporting events and as a volunteer during ODU’s Adventure Race. He also serves as a reservist in the Army National Guard.
Ranked second in his military science-3 class, Proctor is attending Warrior Forge training (similar to Officer Candidate School) this summer and air assault school. He will return to ODU in the fall as an assistant teacher, sharing what he’s learned with other cadets.
“The training has been great and I can’t wait for officer’s school,” Proctor adds. “I’m ready to serve my country – Hooah!”
“My grandfather was in the Army and I always wanted to follow in his footsteps and serve my country, so here I am,” say Leah Newman, a first-year Army-ROTC cadet at TCC. Newman participated in the junior-ROTC program in high school and sees this training as a continuation at the community-college level.
“I came here hoping to develop discipline and to prepare for a career in the military, and I’m incredibly grateful for the experience,” Newman adds. While at TCC she participated in two field training exercises, learning land navigation and repelling from the towering heights of ODU’s Forman Field. Newman attends basic training this summer and airborne school next year.
Giving back has been important to Newman. She participated in unit service activities, serving as color guard for commencement, collecting food and donating blood.
“My grandfather was a large influence on my life and he’s very proud now,” Newman adds. “When I get my commission, I’m not sure which one of us is going to be happier.”