Letters to the Editor, Part 2
Service and Pride
I would like to thank you for the well written article regarding the ROTC program [Leap of Faith, Spring 2002]. In today's increasingly violent world, where the ideals of America are under attack, it is comfortable to know that the University is still providing leaders for our military. The ROTC program has always been a point of pride for Xavier, and its graduates have served our nation well. Thanks to them for all they do to protect our freedom.
I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for the recent article in Xavier Magazine [Leap of Faith, Spring 2002]. Having read the letters to the editor, I'm sure this piece has raised some emotions both for and against ROTC and the military service. I am also sure there have been many not printed. One such letter I recently received was from the parents of Bob Rice, an alumni and 2Lt. of XU who was killed serving his country in Viet Nam 14 months after graduation. Their letter to me and the Corps of Cadets stated, "We would deeply appreciate you telling the Corps of Cadets and your staff that there were many who appreciated their choice and service prior to 11 September." People like that know what sacrifice and service to this nation truly means, and their words of encouragement do nothing but increase the cadets commitment to service.
I, too, think it is important to listen and understand everyone's views and let people make their own decisions. I am always amazed how "close minded" people can be on certain issues. Bottom line, we live in a country that allows everyone to have their own opinion. I'm just glad there are those who are willing to defend this right and the many other rights many people tend to take for granted.
Again, thanks for your time and efforts developing this piece. I know the cadets appreciated it.
—Timothy R. Gobin, LTC, FA, Professor of Military Science, Xavier University
As a proud parent of Oliver Olson, senior as of Sept. 11, I still gladly receive Xavier magazine. This latest copy, Vol. 9 No. 2, features the ROTC on the cover. Oliver has been in the U.S. Army Reserves since he graduated from Marmion Academy in 1997, and transferred to Xavier from Illinois Benedictine two years ago. After receiving his private pilot's license in Cincinnati almost three years ago, he liked it so much there in Cincy, he looked into the school, transferred, and has the intention to graduate from Xavier, hopefully.
However, Sept. 11 changed some things and his original timing when he was called up on active duty with the U.S. Army Reserves the day after Sept. 11. The magazine does a great job describing and honoring the ROTC people, but does fail to mention full time active, honor students called up for active service, like Oliver. I hope out of sight does not mean out of mind for those Xavier students now in the midst of serving our country, and carrying guns with live ammo. Not that that is his mother's dream, but it is a mission taken in the midst of education due to circumstances of war.
As Oliver was excelling at Xavier on the Dean's list, he is also applying the same behavioral traits in his Military Police Squad 6015 MP, where he is stationed at Fort McCoy, Wisc. The Army Reserves has held a little elected contest for Soldier of the Year Award, and Oliver was nominated by his unit, elected by his squad, then elected by all of Fort McCoy, won a six-state regional election by a regional board of Army judges and leaders, and now will be receiving a national award. He is traveling to Washington, D.C., with his post Commander May 1-3 to receive an award.
You may want to follow up with him and his commanding officers on the details, or watch CNN.
—Nancy Olson, Inverness, Ill.
Filling the Gap
As parents of a Xavier student [Ryan Mulvenon '03], we want to congratulate you for a consistently outstanding magazine. We have encouraged our children to attend a university away from home in order to foster their personal growth and independence. Of course, there's a price to pay for the separation. Since our home is in Nevada, it's tough for us to visit. Weekend trips are out of the question and Ryan gets home only on major holidays. But Xavier magazine helps fill the gap. It brings the school to our doorstep and gives us a sense of involvement. It's well-written, beautifully designed, wonderfully illustrated and informative. Thanks.
—Steve & Janelle Mulvenon
I am a 39-year-old Xavier undergraduate student. I am taking 16 hours in the summer to graduate this summer. I was appalled to find out that I cannot purchase a cap and gown. I have worked very hard for my degree. I have maintained a full-time job, as well as maintained a marriage and raised three children. This is a big accomplishment for me, and I would like to announce this to the world, to have pictures taken in my cap and gown and send out announcements. However, that is not possible since I am not on "the list." And since Xavier only has one commencement ceremony, I am forced to come back in 2003 just to hear my name called. I don't know about anyone else, but I am truly dejected. Maybe this is not important to the adminstration at Xavier but it is important to me.
Read your article [Leap of Faith, Spring 2002]. That’s nothing. Look what happened to me.
I’m class of ’42. Graduated in May. By February ’43, I’m in North Africa. It was the mismatch of the century—us against the elite German Afrika Corps. Rommel and Germany’s finest. No one writes about those early days. I see a field of wreckage, tanks smashed, burning, piles of them. And the shock—they’re all OURS.
Our first battle and over half of our guys are in German prisoner of war camps. All 12 howitzers are gone. We’re a “laughing stock.”
The most arrogant people in the world were those Afrikan Corps. I didn’t know I could hate. But as I wrote, the Brits laughed at us, too. They didn’t think we could hold an ant hill. How do you think I felt? Ernie Pyle didn’t dare write about any of this, but he saw it too.
Also, what is never written was over-aged command. Our FA regiment soon got rid of almost all rank beyond majors. We got a new CO, a West Pointer, age 27.
We went on, learned, and learned to fight without British help. The 17th went on and on without me. I was wounded near Cassimo.
OK, read my story. I wrote a book of them. I call them “Crazy War Stories.”
—Jim Smith ’42, Framingham, Maine
Learning Life Skills
I would like to thank you for your article on Xavier's ROTC program. As a 1995 graduate of both the university and the ROTC department, I feel a great pride after reading an article like that. I know that the Jesuit Mission is to promote peace, however, until every other country decides to live in peace we need soldiers to defend us. One thing that I think a lot of people don't understand is that the ROTC department does not only teach about war and violence. They also teach life skills like discipline. I hope that all the Cadre and cadets in Xavier's ROTC program keep up the good work.
—Chris Martin '95