Rappelling demonstration marks 100th anniversary of Reserve Officers' Training Corps
Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The University of Iowa wrestling program helped the Iowa ROTC Detachment celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps last week.

Even though the UI has had officers training on campus since the 1860s, the 1916 National Defense Authorization Act established ROTC as we know it today. To mark the anniversary, an ROTC Cadet Color Guard presented the national colors before the meet, wrestlers wore singlets with camouflage panels, and the UI Army ROTC cadre conducted a rappelling demonstration in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The wrestling program also allowed Active Duty, Guard and Reserve, and retirees into the meet for free and handed out 500 T-shirts to the first patrons present.

The U.S. Army trains personnel to rappel from helicopters, man-made structures, and naturally occurring terrain features such as cliffs. The Carver-Hawkeye catwalk—from which the group rappelled—is approximately 66 feet from the floor. Master Sgt. Taylor Tahbo, senior military instructor, served as the rappel master, while Capt. David Weinreich and Capt. Rodney Bunyan worked as safeties. Sgt. 1st Class Ricky Crouse, Maj. Chris Guderski, and Lt. Col. Zach Buettner rappelled from the rafters.

The celebration also included a contracting ceremony for three cadets. Upon completion of their degree requirements and the Army ROTC program, they will be awarded commissions as second lieutenants in the United States Army. The cadets honored were:

Jessica Elder, a sophomore from Sullivan, Illinois. She was trained as a medic in the Iowa Army National Guard and has decided to pursue a commission as an Army officer. Elder is the recipient of a three-year Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty Scholarship and therefore, concurrently serves in the 209th Medical Battalion here in Iowa City. She is pursuing an athletic training degree and will also remain in the Iowa National Guard upon commissioning in the spring of 2018.

Emily Jefferson, a three-year ROTC on-campus scholarship recipient. She is a sophomore majoring in human physiology and serves as the R.A. for the ROTC Living Learning Community. Jefferson has not yet decided whether she will pursue Active or Reserve Duty or an educational delay to attend medical school.

Lucas Roach, a junior from Altoona, Iowa. He completed Basic Combat Training during the summer of 2015 and is serving in Iowa City as a member of the 1133rd Transportation Unit of the Iowa National Guard as a Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP) Cadet. Roach is a biochemistry major and is pursuing an Active Duty commission upon graduation in May 2017.