April 29, 2014 | 8 a.m.
By Brianna Albers '17
Joel Anderson '15 was recently named Cadet of the Year by the University of Minnesota's ROTC. Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) is not for the faint of heart. The program involves skilled officers training university and college students to become military officers upon graduation. Participants are required to pursue basic military discipline, skills, and leadership. Anderson is part of the ROTC's Army branch, and considers ROTC "a leadership program…it prepares future officers for quick, decisive, and confident decisions in combat or garrison situations." Anderson is currently training for physical fitness, land navigation, operations orders, basic tactics, and leadership dimensions.
Recognition by the ROTC is a feat in itself. Candidates are presented to a review board comprised of senior cadets and the Commandant of Cadets, and are expected to answer the board's questions while demonstrating military bearing and composure. Anderson is quick to point out that, while he was successful, "there [were] many other cadets who are equally if not more deserving than me."
Anderson's ROTC accomplishments do not stop at his being named Cadet of the Year. He is one of five students to be published in the magazine , and over spring break, he participated in the 25 annual Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Base in New Mexico. Two University of Minnesota TC Gopher Battalion teams competed, and as part of the "heavy team," Anderson carried at minimum a 35-pound pack in boots and uniform. "The course has a lot of sand, which makes it difficult," he says, "as well as a seven mile uphill portion." The University of Minnesota "light team," which ran the 26.2 mile course, finished third out of 12, and Anderson's team finished 13th out of 44 in what he describes as "the most physically and mentally challenging thing I have ever done."
Anderson is a history and philosophy double-major and in the Honors Program.