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To the editor:
I am writing this letter to inform the community about the
benefits of enrolling in college and taking military science
courses. Military science is a four-year program that will help
students achieve their goals and make them leaders for not only the
community, but for our country. I have spent the last 22 years in
the United States military and have grown personally and
professionally from all of my experiences. I became an officer in
the Army by participating in military science while I was in
As my twin daughters progress through high school and begin to
look forward to attending college, I see many opportunities for
them. Each year there are many students who cannot or will not
enroll in college because they lack the financial ability to do so.
Nearly 85 percent of students who are enrolled in military science
at Eastern Illinois University compete for and receive scholarship
benefits of some kind. There are federal scholarships that pay full
tuition and all fees, or room and board. Additionally, there
is a book allowance of $900 along with a monthly stipend. There are
also scholarships supported by the Illinois General Assembly. These
scholarships pay all tuition and limited fees and incur no military
commitment. Each community college in the state has three transfer
scholarships that are specifically designated for students who
transfer from a community college to a four-year college and enroll
in military science.
[to top of second column in this letter]
Parents and students alike have a misunderstanding of what is
associated with military science. Many fear that by enrolling in
military science that a commitment to the military is incurred. Not
until the beginning of the junior year is a student asked to make a
commitment to the military. Military science is an elective class
that can be taken, just like any other, and if a student decides
that military science is not for them, there is no obligation to
sign up for another class. A student can participate in military
science and decide that the military is not what they want to do
with their life. Should one of my daughters decide to enroll
military science and complete the program, she will have an
accredited military science minor along with her chosen major.
I served as a company commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom. I
was responsible for 75 soldiers and millions of dollars of
equipment. Thankfully all 75 of my soldiers and I came home safely.
Although times were difficult, I drew upon the foundation of
leadership that I built while I was enrolled in military science.
Mark A. Woodsmall
(Posted July 13, 2005)
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