The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program is an integral part of many college students’ lives because it allows them to pursue a degree while completing military leadership training. Read more about what it’s like to be a college student and ROTC Cadet at APU.
Morgan Noah Dunn ’21
Major: Criminal Justice
City of Residence: Lake Forest, California
Title: Cadet Battalion Commander (West Side)
Career Goals: FBI/CIA after my time in the service
How did you get involved in ROTC? I originally wanted to skip college and enlist in the military, but had the opportunity to go to college. I knew people who went to APU and one who did ROTC here—he’s the one who convinced me to give it a shot before I even got to APU.
What has been the most positive aspect of your experience in APU’s ROTC program? Personally, the relationships I have developed with the other cadets in APU’s ROTC program, and with the cadets in the other five schools in our battalion. The camaraderie is something I am grateful for and really made a difference in my four years at APU and in the ROTC program.
What has kept you motivated during your time in ROTC? The fact that I was on my way to fulfilling the goals I set for myself when I was much younger. I have always wanted to serve in the military, and knowing that I was on track to do it made it so I never second-guessed myself.
How did ROTC prepare you for where you are now? Our program has prepared all of us really well for what we are going to be doing in the near future. We have all received lots of reps in leadership positions, have been placed in stressful situations—physically and mentally tough events and situations—and it all is for the benefit of us becoming Army officers.
Is there anything else you think people should know about ROTC? The opportunities I have received from our ROTC program have been amazing. From Air Assault School to the Ranger Challenge Competitions, to volunteer events, the list goes on.
Chase James Hall ’21
Major: Business Management
City of Residence: Austin, Texas
Title: APU CO and Battalion S4 (West Side)
Career Goals: Human Trafficking Task Force w/Department of Justice after time in service.
How did you get involved in ROTC? The military interested me, but I didn’t know about much of the opportunity of ROTC and the officer route. My parents explained to me what ROTC is and they said to give it a try, and if you do not like it, then you can drop it. Turned out to love it and continued onto commissioning.
What has been the most positive aspect of your experience in APU’s ROTC program? The bonds and chemistry I made with people my grade, my mentors, and those younger than me will always be remembered. Having that team aspect applied and integrated into my college career pushed me to better myself and encourage those around me in ROTC. I have gained so much insight and knowledge continuing the strong APU ROTC legacy of officers.
What has kept you motivated during your time in ROTC? When times suck in ROTC, the cadets around me whom I have gotten close to motivate me constantly. We have all gone through the same training, so seeing them with a smile on their face encourages me to do the same and have their back at any given moment.
How did ROTC prepare you for where you are now? The Claremont McKenna College/APU program instills much knowledge and discipline in its program. There is no slacking when putting on the uniform, and everyone is held to a high standard. This was a big shock for me coming from high school, but I was blessed to have such great mentors and battle buddies to help me through training.
Is there anything else you think people should know about ROTC? I’m super blessed to have these cadets in my life to help me where I am now. I also want to thank friends and family for loving and supporting me through this entire process to help me commission as an officer and be the man I am today.
Logan Hess ’21
Major: Criminal Justice
City of Residence: Victorville, California
Title: Cadet First Sergeant of Azusa Pacific University, Cougar Detachment
Career Goals: My goal is to become a field artillery officer in the National Guard. I also aspire to become a law enforcement officer.
How did you get involved in ROTC? I got involved in ROTC as a sophomore after a fellow cadet inspired me to join the program. I have always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself and serve my country; the ROTC program is perfect for this purpose.
What has been the most positive aspect of your experience in APU’s ROTC program? The greatest aspect of the ROTC program is how much you grow within it. I have grown significantly since joining the program—when I first joined, I was extremely unconfident, but through all of the training and obstacles that I have overcome in the ROTC program, I can confidently say I am a true leader now. The ROTC program pushes you to become the best you can be and the experiences that come with it are priceless.
What has kept you motivated during your time in ROTC? The natural support system in the program kept me motivated. The people you meet in the program are not simply friends you can rely on; they are family who will always have your back no matter what. The support system in ROTC has made it possible for me to achieve goals that I never thought were possible.
Is there anything else you think people should know about ROTC? The ROTC program will prepare you for any career field that you want to pursue by instilling good values in the way you live your everyday life. Also, you will develop important skills like determination and perseverance.
Franklin Shimada Kardos ’21
Major: History, minor in Leadership
City of Residence: La Quinta, California
Title: Cadet Battalion Executive Officer (West Side)
Career Goals: Commission into the National Guard and become a police officer
How did you get involved in ROTC? I did a program similar to JROTC called California Cadet Corps. From there, I realized I had a desire to serve and a passion for leadership, and Army ROTC seemed like the perfect way to pay for college and accomplish my dreams.
What has been the most positive aspect of your experience in APU’s ROTC program? The most positive aspect has been the opportunities of leadership that my peers and I have experienced. I learned a lot being in different leadership positions in different settings, but I have learned the most about how I want to lead from being led by others, seeing what they do well, and copying it to level up my leadership abilities and understanding.
What has kept you motivated during your time in ROTC? A huge motivating factor has been to keep up with my friends. During my freshman year, I was a lot slower than them on the runs and would fall behind. This really motivated me to step it up, so I could keep up and run with them.
How did ROTC prepare you for where you are now? ROTC has helped me understand that not everything in life is going to be super fun, and you are not always going to agree with whatever decisions people make. However, at the end of the day, the mission needs to be accomplished. I learned that in any sort of situation involving other people, everyone likes a team player.
Is there anything else you think people should know about ROTC? At APU, everything we do in ROTC is done to glorify God. With our bodies, by staying in shape; with our minds, by maintaining good grades; and with our spirit, by undergoing stressful situations to make us better officers.
Allison Kim ’21
City of Residence: Valencia, California
Title: Cadet Executive Commander of Azusa Pacific University
Career Goals: My goal is to be a flight nurse in the Army and after my time in the service.
How did you get involved in ROTC? I was heavily influenced by my sister and friend who participated in my high school’s JROTC. While I wanted to take part in that organization, my schedule did not allow me to. So instead, I did some research and made my decision to join ROTC in college, wherever that may be. When I got accepted into APU, I came to visit the campus, where I got to meet some cadets and cadre who shared about the program and I was instantly drawn in. My first year, I was constantly motivated by my peers and seniors and was invested to do good in ROTC.
What has been the most positive aspect of your experience in APU’s ROTC program? APU Company is probably the most motivating, hardworking, and loving community that I have met during my college years. I was able to grow in a safe space and push myself physically, mentally, and spiritually. Here I was challenged and supported to go beyond what I believed I could. APU ROTC is and always has been a family that I can reach out to. Whether they are former cadets and current officers, past military science instructors, or younger cadets, I am proud to be a part of APU’s ROTC program.
What has kept you motivated during your time in ROTC? Having a strong and supportive ROTC company has been a blessing in moving forward. They constantly motivate me to do my very best, for myself and also for those around me. Knowing that all the hard work and dedication would be rewarded at the end was another boost to persevere.
Is there anything else you think people should know about ROTC? ROTC is more than military training; it is leadership and discipline development; it is a close-knit family. Every classroom lecture, every field training, every PT session is meant to cultivate an understanding of how to be a leader and to inspire to do best. Alongside every strong individual is an even stronger support system, and that is what ROTC is.
Dominick Jacob Betancur ’20
Major: Kinesiology, with an emphasis in applied exercise science
City of Residence: Covina, California
Title: CDT Battalion Commander (West Side)
Career Goals: I branched Infantry, so I will be commissioning as an infantry officer, go to IBOLC, after that go to ranger school, and hopefully earn the right to wear the ranger tab on my left shoulder. I hope that my journey through ROTC and the obstacles I will face in the future will help me develop as a leader my men will be willing to follow and respect.
How did you get involved in ROTC? I always wanted to join the military ever since I was a little kid, but I had never heard of ROTC before my senior year in high school. My original plan was to enlist right out of high school to serve my four years in the Army. It wasn’t until one of my linebacker coaches my senior year of high school was talking to me about the Army, since he served in the Army in the early 2000s with the 82nd Airborne with one long 15-month deployment under his belt. He recommended that I look into going the officer route instead, so I did some research, discovered ROTC, got in contact with the recruiting officer at the CMC ROTC program, and this started my four-year journey in ROTC. I really enjoyed my first year of ROTC, and became motivated to graduate college and commission as an Army officer.
What has been the most positive aspect of your experience in APU’s ROTC program? I enjoyed everyone in the APU ROTC program and this made me want to commission as an officer even more, because I now know that there will be these types of people in the actual Army—people who care for you, help you, and work hard for you because they know that I will do the same thing.
What has kept you motivated during your time in ROTC? Being in ROTC showed me the kind of camaraderie that I had when I was involved in sports. This is very important for me because in order for someone to enjoy their work, they should be able to enjoy the people around them, and that’s how I felt. I had these kinds of relationships from being involved in sports back in high school, and experiencing this in ROTC made me fall in love with it.
Is there anything else you think people should know about ROTC? If you have a chance, you should participate in the Bataan Death March. It’s incredibly difficult rucking 26.2 miles with a 35-pound rucksack, but I cared deeply about what the march symbolized—it was meant to give people just a taste of the suffering that the American and Filipino soldiers had to endure when they were taken prisoner by the Japanese Imperial Army and forced to march 60 miles to a POW camp. It was just inspiring to see thousands of people come together for all of those soldiers who perished and those who survived, who have to live on with those terrible memories.
TeAta Gutierrez ’20
Major: Public Relations
City of Residence: Kihei, Hawaii
Title: Cadet Company Commander of Azusa Pacific University, Cougar Detachment
Career Goals: My goal is to become a public affairs officer in the Hawai’i National Guard. I also aspire to become an event coordinator.
How did you get involved in ROTC? Before attending APU, I was in the Army JROTC program for all four years at my high school. As soon as I was a senior in high school, I applied for the National ROTC Scholarship because I wanted to continue to be in the program. Soon enough, I was awarded the three-year scholarship for a couple of universities, but I decided to be part of APU’s Army ROTC program.
What has been the most positive aspect of your experience in APU’s ROTC program? The most positive aspect of my experience in APU’s ROTC program is seeing myself physically and mentally grow. When I began college ROTC, I remember being very shy, quiet, and doubtful that I was going to make it through the program. I think it is amazing to see how much I have grown throughout my years, starting from a timid freshman cadet to the company commander of the APU ROTC program. I would have never thought I would make it this far and accomplish so much, and I thank this program for pushing my limits and working hard to reach my goals.
What has kept you motivated during your time in ROTC? The one thing that has kept me motivated during my time in ROTC is the people; without them, I wouldn’t be where I am. There have been many people who have gone through this program who mentored and motivated me to do my very best. Because I looked up to the upperclassmen in our program, I strive to mentor and motivate the current underclassmen and guide them to reach their goals. I am excited to see them grow and excel in this program.
How did ROTC prepare you for where you are now? ROTC prepared me for where I am now by allowing me to overcome physical and mental challenges. This program strives for cadets to not only be physically fit but to have the ability to think and overcome stressful situations that require critical thinking. The intent for this program is to prepare cadets to become Army officers, therefore cadets need to train and start having the mindset of an Army officer. With the training events and situations that the program put me through, I believe it has prepared me for my postcollege career in the military.
Is there anything else you think people should know about ROTC at APU? Although there are hundreds of ROTC programs in the nation, APU’s ROTC is special because it is more than a program—it is a family and community. APU’s core foundation is keeping God First in everything; therefore our ROTC program makes sure that we also fulfill that mission. In our program, we make sure to check up on everyone to see how everyone is doing through mentorships and prayer requests. Our program is very welcoming.
Armando Angel Muñoz ’20
Major: Criminal Justice, with a minor in biblical studies
City of Residence: La Quinta, California
Title: MSIV (Senior) Battalion Executive Officer
Career Goals: Law school to become a lawyer after my time in the service
How did you get involved in ROTC? I got involved in ROTC during my second semester of my freshman year at APU. My initial desire to serve, as well as the opportunities that the ROTC program provided, made it the right fit for me.
What has been the most positive aspect of your experience in APU’s ROTC program? The most positive aspect of the ROTC program is its ability to develop leaders, which is made possible through fellow cadets as well as the leadership experiences provided within the program. Not only does the program equip cadets to become second lieutenants in the Army, but it also shapes more well-rounded, organized, and problem-solving individuals. This is achieved through the guiding hand of classmates above you, as well as the allotted leadership positions.
What has kept you motivated during your time in ROTC? My desire to serve others and become the leader I know God has shaped and is shaping me to be has kept me motivated throughout my time in ROTC.
How did ROTC prepare you for where you are now? The program has better equipped me to handle stressful situations, lead others, and ultimately be more selfless, all shaping where I am now. Branching active-duty Engineer Corps after I commission in May is no small achievement. I could not have been prepared for this had it not been for fellow cadets and class peers within ROTC before and now.
Is there anything else you think people should know about ROTC at APU? The close-knit family that is ROTC at APU is truly special, creating not only leaders for the Army, but ultimately more selfless individuals who aim to serve Christ in His calling for our lives. Through the often-unseen work and time put forth to become leaders worthy of leading others in the Army, we strive to exemplify the true nature of the Service cornerstone here at APU.