ROTC battalions honor veterans

first_imgOn Sept. 10, 2001, Richard Evans was a civilian with plans to marry his fiancée later that year. This Veterans Day, 12 years later, he is an active-duty captain in the U.S. Army, a survivor of four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and a father of four. “It’s an awesome thing when the country gets behind and supports us [on Veterans Day],” Evans said. “I think we’ve learned some really hard lessons from the past. “As a soldier, I’ve felt nothing but gratitude from South Bend, Mishawaka and Notre Dame in particular. I’m very thankful for that and the opportunity to be here.” Since July, Evans has served as an assistant professor of military science at Notre Dame and a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadre, or staff. Despite his prior tours of duty, Evans said he does not focus on his own service on Veterans Day. “It’s a time for me to reflect,” Evans said. “I’ve been in the military for 12 years. I’ve deployed four times, so I think about all the great men and women I’ve had the opportunity to serve with. I think about the sacrifices my family has made to allow me to pursue this career.” Tyler Thomas, a senior Naval ROTC midshipman and tri-military commander of the three Notre Dame ROTC branches, said Army and Air Force cadets and Navy midshipmen held a 24-hour vigil at the Clarke War Memorial fountain starting Sunday evening in honor of Veterans Day. “We protect the War Memorial, which stands for all of the Notre Dame graduates who have died in World War II, Korea and Vietnam,” Thomas said. “We pay tribute to the sacrifice they gave. “Ultimately, that’s the ideal service we try to strive for. It may not necessarily mean giving our lives in the defense of the country, but they set a great example of how we should be living our lives.” Thomas said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg will address ROTC students and staff members at a public ceremony Monday evening in the Carey Auditorium of the Hesburgh Library. “[Mayor Buttigieg] is in the reserves right now, and he’s actually going to be going overseas in February with the Navy,” Thomas said. “It’ll be really interesting to hear his perspective, especially in his pre-deployment work up.” Thomas said the ROTC branches will participate together in Veterans Day activities, including a special appearance at the women’s basketball game Monday night. “We try to make it a tri-military celebration,” Thomas said. “During the women’s basketball game, we’ll be doing a flag unfurling that’s tri-military.” Chris Lillie, senior cadet and battalion commander for Army ROTC, said the rifle drill team would also make its first presentation in several years at the basketball game. “It’s actually the first time in at least five or six years that we’ve had a drill team performance, so we’re kind of excited that we’re getting that going,” Lillie said. Thomas said Veterans Day unites the ROTC branches beyond community-event planning. He said recognizing the service and sacrifice of all military men and women was the main lesson for midshipmen and cadets in training. “We can learn from every service of the people who went before us, so it’s important to not just recognize Navy veterans or Army veterans, but celebrate their lives together,” Thomas said. Lillie said the tri-military events reflect the shared commitment of the military divisions to protecting the United States. “[The ROTC branches] don’t represent different things,” he said. “They’re all focused on different things, so seeing them come together shows that it’s one team, one fight.” Maggie Armstrong, senior cadet and a squadron commander for Air Force ROTC, said her family’s military history made her learn and appreciate the significance of all veterans from a young age. “It was a family holiday, and I never really understood why until my dad explained to me when I was about 12 that he had lost his entire crew in a plane crash,” Armstrong said. “That day was about remembering those people and the ones who’d gone before us to make our country free.”To me, Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect and remember the brothers and sisters in arms who’ve gone before us. Whether they are retired or out of service or reserves or killed in action, it’s an opportunity to remember what this country stands for and that there are people willing to fight for it.” Lillie said the same spirit extends to students at Notre Dame, even those who have no connections to ROTC or to the military in general. “With the big ‘God, Country, Notre Dame’ mantra that we have on campus, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone on campus that isn’t big on service, and that includes service to country,” Lillie said. “Whether or not you’re actually directly involved in the military, Veterans Day is a big day for everyone because you can go out and support the principles that you as an American believe in and that the people that are fighting for America are representing directly.” Evans said Veterans Day also reminds civilians of the ongoing sacrifices that military men and women must make. “What I’m afraid of is with the nearly 3,000 KIA [killed in action] and I think somewhere near 8,000 wounded soldiers, that the general populace will start to forget the sacrifice and service that these men and women have made,” Evans said. “Veterans Day is a day a year to remind everybody … [of] what they’ve had to do – leave their homes, leave their families, to bring freedom to a group of people and protect our shores from future attacks.” Evans said members of the Notre Dame and South Bend communities frequently approach him when he wears his uniform to thank him for his service. He said Veterans Day would be a chance for civilians to continue supporting the armed forces. “It gives them an opportunity to be a part of something larger than campus,” he said. Contact Lesley Stevenson at lsteven1@nd.edulast_img read more

Syracuse’s depth put on display as talented freshmen all see playing time in win over Fairleigh Dickinson

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 12, 2012 at 12:24 am Contact Kevin: When Quentin Hillsman released his starting lineup for Syracuse’s season opener, it looked a lot different than last season’s.Freshmen Brianna Butler, Cornelia Fondren and Brittney Sykes all got the starting nod, while veterans Rachel Coffey and Carmen Tyson-Thomas began the game on the bench.“They were playing well all preseason and coming into this first game,” Hillsman said. “Rachel Coffey and Carmen Tyson-Thomas had to really be team players, and they are, and they were when we announced who was starting.”Fourteen Orange players saw action on in SU’s season-opening 94-47 win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Sunday in the Carrier Dome, a statement of the team’s abundant depth in 2012-13. Hillsman said before the season that he expected nine to 11 players to see significant time — which he defined postgame as double-digit minutes — this season. With five game-ready freshmen poised to join the veteran cast, SU’s depth had the potential on paper to serve as one of the team’s biggest assets.Hillsman strives to foster a fast-paced, up-tempo style of play, which is best executed when players rotate in and out of play frequently, he said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Our goal is to play 10 or 11 players double-figure minutes every night,” Hillsman said. “If we’re going to play this fast and really play this way, we have to get bodies in the game. It’s just a must.”The depth was on full display on Sunday.Ten Orange players saw double-digit minutes. The scoring was spread across the board as well, with five players in double figures.The freshmen showed from the start that they were ready to complement their incumbent teammates and contribute. With SU up 3-0 in the opening minutes, Sykes drove into the lane and drew contact, leading to a free throw for her first collegiate point. Shortly after, Sykes made her defensive presence felt with a block.The highly touted Sykes finished with 11 points on Sunday, and she was joined in double figures by fellow freshman Butler. With Syracuse leading 7-3, a block by SU center Kayla Alexander led to a fast break that ended with a 3-pointer by Butler from the left corner. Butler saw 21 minutes of action against FDU, making her first four shots and finishing 4-of-6 from the field.“Obviously, starting as a freshman, it’s nerve-wracking and plenty nervous,” Butler said. “But Coach told us to just go out there and play our game, slow it down and that’s what we did.”With the freshmen proving their coach’s optimistic preseason words true, the upperclassmen had a chance to get more rest during the game than they may have had in prior years. Among those taking advantage was Alexander, who made a push for a rare triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 8 blocks in a team-high 29 minutes.For Alexander, the chance to get rest is an important asset that the newcomers can help provide.“They can shoot; they’re all scoring threats,” Alexander said. “Everybody’s going to have to play them from day one. That helps a lot; it will allow a lot of seniors and upperclassmen to get some rest time.”The Orange opened up a long season that has the potential to extend for five months. The ability to go 14 deep is an indication of the team’s health right now, the value of which cannot be understated, Hillsman said.With the freshmen contributing immediately, the class showed the potential to make its presence felt throughout the season.“Our freshmen were amazing today,” Hillsman said. “I’m very, very happy for them. (They did) just what I thought they would do, come in and be immediate impact players.” Commentslast_img read more