ROTC alumni share memories

ROTC cadets in an undated photo.
ROTC cadets in an undated photo.

At Homecoming on Sept. 29,  University of Detroit Mercy will symbolically break ground on a Veterans Lounge on the McNichols Campus.

The lounge will be a place for students who are veterans of the U.S. armed services to relax, support and get to know each other. The lounge is being paid for in part by a $50,000 crowdfunding initiative. Most of the donors are have been other veterans — mostly ROTC alumni from Detroit Mercy — who have shared their memories of the program with their gifts in support. Here are a few of them.

“I still remember the first day I put on the Air Force ROTC uniform, and then walking around my neighborhood in Detroit to show it off.” — Lt. Col. Ronald Smetek ’62, USAF

“After completing the D.D.S. program at University of Detroit, I was surprised that the training received allowed me to perform in an outstanding manner when compared to my peers being installed at the same time. I am grateful that U of D allowed me to perform in a superior manner as the first black dental officer assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division.” — Captain David Mays ’74, Army

“I enjoyed the upbeat motivational esprit de corps and camaraderie every Friday at ROTC classes.” — Major Daniel Marsh ’87, United States Marine Corps Reserve, United States Army ROTC, United States Army Jag Corps, Michigan National Guard

“Many fond memories including one class taught by Capt. Gil Amelio entitled You Can Always Trust a Communist (To Be a Communist) was one of the best management classes at University of Detroit and served me well in my years since.” Clemens “Chip” Bremer ’64 USAF

“Met my wife, Camille, at the rifle range and we were married 62 years before she passed away.” — Lt. Col. Francis Doherty ’54 USAF Reserve

“Going to drill at 0700 on Friday mornings!” — Col. (Ret.) Rick Anderschat ’64 US Army Corps of Engineers

“Drill team competition.” — Col. (Ret.) William Boik ’75 US Army

“Morning PT runs through the University District north of school and playing basketball at Calihan Hall.” — Second Lieutenant Al Girardot ’88, US Army 

“The cadets created a voluntary Drill Team, the U of D Rifles which won the championship in 1953 or ’54. I got a half-year credit of high school ROTC so went into Advanced since the draft was still on in 1954 and I wanted to be an Engineering officer anyway. I graduated in 1957 in uniform to receive my Army commission and diploma in Architectural Engineering.” — Capt. John Mock ’57 US Army

There is still time to donate to the cause and to register for Homecoming and attend the ceremonial groundbreaking and all the other events planned for Homecoming Weekend.

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