Centre junior goes Airborne
RELEASED: September 27, 2007
DANVILLE, KY—Chris Payne, a junior economics major from Louisville, is a cadet with the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at Centre. This provided him the unique opportunity this past summer to attend the Army's three-week Airborne Training School in Georgia.
"Every year slots are handed out to the programs and the Cadre (a group of trained Army personnel) picks cadets to go," Payne said. "I decided I was stupid enough to jump out of a perfectly good airplane and signed up."
Airborne training consists of three one-week courses: ground week (training on the ground), tower week (practice jumps from 34-foot towers) and jump week (parachuting from an airplane).
"The first two weeks the instructors are drilling you continuously so that you have the muscle memory to have successful jumps," Payne said.
Army ROTC is an elective program that operates in conjunction with Centre's existing degree programs. Students receive college credit for ROTC classes, and some courses may be used to meet degree requirements within a student's major. ROTC classes teach leadership and management, values and ethics, military skills and effective communication.
Centre students may participate in the reserve officers training programs of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. Payne described what factored into his decision to join ROTC.
"[Centre is] a partnership school to the University of Kentucky's program," he said. "I began exploring ROTC as a means to help pay for college and get good job experience before graduating. It's been a good experience so far, and I feel like I'm gaining valuable tools for the future."
"My dad came down for my last jump and my graduation because he graduated from Airborne School in 1977," Payne said. "It was pretty cool having him pin my wings on; especially because it was exactly 30 years after he'd done it.
"Getting those wings put on makes you feel like you've really accomplished something at first. Then you think about all the soldiers who have jumped into combat zones and you're humbled by what they've done. It was a great experience and hopefully in the future I'll get the opportunity to jump again."
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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