ROTC cadets are among the most physically fit young people one can find anywhere, but one Carroll College student has distinguished himself even among them.
Zach Wagner, an MS-4 cadet (or fourth-year student) logged a record-setting physical fitness score, part of a Leadership Development Assessment Course (LDAC) at Fort Lewis, Wash., this summer. Some 6,000 cadets participated.
“A lot of that has to do with the PT (physical training) here and training with the cross-country team,” he said.
Wagner downplays the accomplishment, noting that the record has already since been broken. The test involved a two-mile run, two minutes of pushups and two minutes of situps.
The LDAC involved other leadership tests. The results will help the Army determine where to place the cadets when they graduate.
While many of their colleagues at Carroll are still sleeping, ROTC cadets at Carroll are working out Monday to Friday at 6 a.m.
But in an effort to improve his abilities, Wagner started running with the cross-country team — a group that runs even faster.
“I’m one of the slowest guys on the team,” he said.
Wagner joined ROTC, he said, because he’d always believed in service and this was a way of contributing. In addition to helping him gain an education at Carroll — he’s studying health sciences — it’s given him numerous other opportunities he said he would not have had otherwise.
Already, he’s worked at the Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, spent a month at an emergency clinic in Ghana, participated in airborne training, and forged friendships with Colombian cadets at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation at Fort Benning, Ga.
After graduation, ROTC cadets receive additional officer training and emerge as second lieutenants. They are assigned either to four years of active duty (followed by four years of inactive reserve status if the officer does not continue in the active force) or eight years in the National Guard or Reserve.
Asked what career he’d like, aside from the military, in the long run, Wagner didn’t hesitate.
“Hunting guide,” he said.