Student Awarded No. 1 Cadet at Leadership Training Camp
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2013 00:09
While Boston College may not have a highly-ranked football team, the community does have a No. 1 ranking to cherish. This summer, James Park, A&S ’14, was ranked the No. 1 cadet at a summer camp Leader Development and Assessment Training at Joint Base Lewis-McCord in Washington.
When he first came to BC, Park never imagined a military future. Fatherly advice and a freshman friend led him down this path.
“My father told me to go outside my comfort zone,” Park said. “He told me to try new things.”
When Park arrived freshman year, he made many friends in his dorm, including John Sullivan, A&S ’14. Sullivan told him about Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), and how Park could get involved. Heeding his father’s guidance, Park joined the program shortly afterward. His dad’s words of wisdom inspired him to take a leap of faith, and Park has never looked back.
ROTC is a unique military training program that BC has offered since 1918. According to the BC ROTC website, ROTC students attend college full-time and participate in ROTC activities part-time, with the goal of being commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army, Reserve, or National Guard.
ROTC is time consuming and challenging, but according to Park, “the work you put in will be paid off eventually in the future in some way, shape, or form.”
The students involved in the program attend physical training sessions three times a week, go to a leadership lab on Wednesday afternoons, and partake in field training exercises at least once a semester.
“We train monthly with the Army National Guard,” Park said.
He meets with an actual army unit one weekend per month to learn military techniques.
“ROTC students certainly lead a busy life, but it’s rewarding, and it’s a valuable learning experience,” Park said.
Park enjoys balancing his military demands with a student lifestyle—he benefits from a structured schedule while doing what he loves. These past four years have taught him how to manage his time, and the importance of helping others.
“I understand the value of teamwork, unity, and being humble,” he said. “Cadets in ROTC always work together to get the job done.”
When pressed about the award, Park explained, “I’m not sure how I got this award. But it may have had something to do with my optimistic attitude and the fact that I always had a smile on my face,” Park said.
“You needed to look like you [were] having fun.”
In addition to his positive attitude, Park scored well on key competitions, receiving the maximum score on the physical fitness test and rifle marksmanship, as well as an 85 out of 100 on the navigation portion of the camp.
Park’s parents have been the most influential people in his life.
“My parents always support me, whatever I do,” Park said.
In addition to his parents, ROTC Company Advisor John O’Brien has been a trusted mentor. Park has many strong connections with his classmates despite their varying lifestyles, and he believes these differences make them stronger and allows them to be more accepting of each other.
When BC football plays Army on Oct. 5, the campus will be flooded with West Point Cadets. Park and the other BC ROTC cadets will have a lot to discuss with their West Point counterparts.
“It will be good to meet some of these cadets and learn about their experience,” Park said.
After Park graduates he will attend a six-month training program, while also planning for graduate school. Park wants to continue his balanced lifestyle after college.
“I’d like to be a guidance counselor in an impoverished community where I could help those less fortunate reach their goals,” Park said.