It is 5:30 Monday morning and most of campus is sleeping soundly. Thirteen Bryant students including Cadet Matt Gallagher and Cadet Tyler Donovan, are waking up, getting ready, and heading to Providence College for physical training. Approximately 70 other cadets from universities and colleges, including Johnson and Wales University, UMass Dartmouth, Brown University, Providence College, Rhode Island College, and the Community College of Rhode Island, join Bryant’s cadets at Providence College three times a week for physical training led by Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Kugel. Three times a week the men and women of the Patriot Battalion are up and working hard before most students realize the sun has come up.
In addition to their morning work outs, the Army cadets are also required to go to their military science class each Wednesday afternoon, which is why everyone always sees Bryant cadets in their uniforms on Wednesdays. Also, once a semester the Patriot Battalion has a weekend training session that involves learning different topics such as land navigation, medical training, and simulated mission scenarios.
Many times the cadets are flown to the training location by UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, but on Wednesday, two black hawks came to Bryant’s campus to complete training with the cadets. Battalion Commander Gallagher, a senior at Bryant University, commented that this training exercise, which was planned by the senior cadets, is a win-win training opportunity because both parties receive valuable training during one session.
On Wednesday the entire Battalion of approximately 85 cadets assembled on Bryant’s practice Rugby field to get exposure to the Black Hawk helicopters and the proper techniques for entering and exiting. One group of mostly junior cadets was flown to a different location for a situational training exercise after being briefed on the procedures of the helicopters. Procedures included the proper way to approach the helicopter, how to handle rucksacks, what to do if one is air sick, entering the aircraft and exiting as well.
Once the brief training was complete, and the first group was dropped at their training location, the Black Hawks headed back to campus to do short fifteen minute flights with the younger cadets to get them introduced to aviation. Earlier in the day Wednesday Battalion Commander Gallagher and Cadet Donovan explained the ROTC program, how they got involved, and what they will be doing upon graduation from Bryant.
Gallagher applied to be in ROTC and received a scholarship as a senior in high school. This means that he came into Bryant already committed to the program and the Army. When Battalion Commander Gallagher graduates from Bryant he will owe the Army four years of active duty which he will begin at Fort Benning, Georgia in June as a 2nd Lieutenant.
Cadet Donovan, a sophomore at Bryant University, came into the program without committing, but instead began by taking a military science class as an elective and going to physical training. In December of his sophomore year Donovan was offered a scholarship similar to Gallagher’s and he accepted it, thereby committing to six years of reserve duty with the Rhode Island National Guard 126th Aviation Unit after graduation.
Both Gallagher and Donovan strongly recommended that anyone who may be considering ROTC try out the class first and see if it is for them. There is no commitment expected of anyone trying out the program and each non-contracted cadet’s level of participation is up to them. The leadership classes are a great opportunity whether or not one has an interest in contracting with the program.