This is one in a series of stories about Eugene/Springfield and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars produced by students in Dan Morrison's NewsLab class at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications. Morrison embedded with Marines in Helmand province in August 2010.
EUGENE, Ore. - Alexis Scully first took a few classes her freshman and sophomore years in the University of Oregon’s ROTC program to see how she would enjoy those classes.
"I took military science and military lab," she said.
Now a junior, she is a third-year military science student (MS3), which means she is contracted to the Army ROTC and will commission into the active component of the United States Army when she graduates.
Upon graduation, Scully will receive a degree in sociology and will commission as a 2nd Lt., the lowest commissioned officer rank in the Army.
Scully said she contracted into ROTC after deciding that she enjoyed the classes and the camaraderie with the other cadets.
A required rapelling event for the third year military science cadets (optional to all other students) was held at the fire station at Chamber and 2nd in Eugene.
“I’ll be very scared. I’m not very fond of heights," Scully said, "but I’ll do it.”
The military science students had learned rope-tying skills in preparation for the rapelling drills, especially the Swiss Seat, which takes a rope and makes a harness around a person’s waist. The Swiss Seat can then be attached to a carabiner and used to repel.
The event was held after cadets learned rapelling skills after practicing them on the bleachers at Hayward Field.
Sgt. 1st Class Bruce Paiva came to the University of Oregon about eight months ago after serving in Iraq.
Paiva said he is enthusiastic about teaching military science at the University of Oregon and said he is enjoying a change of scenery after serving with a regular unit.
Capt. Darren McMahon (retired), Recruiting Operations Officer at the UO, said the first two years of ROTC the cadets are considered the soldiers inside the program. The first two years of ROTC require no military obligation.
The third and fourth year Cadets who are enrolled in the advanced courses are the leaders of those first and second year ROTC cadets, where the MS3 and MS4s gain experience necessary to lead soldiers and gain the skills necessary to become an Army officer.
McMahon said to be in the advanced courses cadets “have signed a contract, stated an oath, thus committing yourself to becoming an Army Officer at the end.”