Dr. Thomas Stafford describes what he learned from his time serving in the military and Army ROTC and how students can learn leadership skills by joining the military. Interview on May 3, 2012. (2:53)


Text Timestamp
Well I'll have to tell you that military service for me was one of the very best things that ever happened to me. 00:00:00.000 - 00:00:08.389
For one thing if you go through ROTC it doesn't matter whether it's Army or Navy, Marine Corps or the Air Force, 00:00:08.389 - 00:00:16.625
you're going to have-. 00:00:16.625 - 00:00:20.483
You will be in a program that will develop you as a leader 00:00:20.483 - 00:00:25.709
and develop your leadership skills way beyond any other thing you could do in college. 00:00:25.709 - 00:00:31.635
You know you can take a course on leadership and you can study it and you can discuss it in class, 00:00:31.635 - 00:00:38.499
but that doesn't even come close to discussing it in class and then going out in the field and being in charge of a squad or a platoon, 00:00:38.499 - 00:00:49.241
which is what you do in ROTC. 00:00:49.241 - 00:00:52.114
So the primary impact on me was in development of my leadership skills 00:00:52.114 - 00:00:58.815
and I like to tell people that some of the things that I do right now to this day in my job as vice chancellor 00:00:58.815 - 00:01:07.816
are things that I learned in Army ROTC and that I learned on active duty. 00:01:07.816 - 00:01:12.863
One of the great things about going through that program is that 00:01:12.863 - 00:01:17.770
when you finish the program and you graduate from college you're going to be twenty-two, maybe twenty-three years old 00:01:17.770 - 00:01:24.591
and if you go right on to active duty as a second lieutenant you're going to be given a responsibility 00:01:24.591 - 00:01:34.904
that anybody else wouldn't have until they're in their late twenties, probably. 00:01:34.904 - 00:01:40.053
I mean you're going to have a lot of responsibility. 00:01:40.053 - 00:01:43.708
You're going to be in charge of a lot of people, a lot of equipment, and probably a good bit of money in terms of the budget. 00:01:43.708 - 00:01:52.903
My point is that you'll get a higher level of responsibility at an earlier age than you ever would doing anything else, 00:01:52.903 - 00:02:02.563
and that's one of the reasons why I really encourage students at NC State to look at ROTC. 00:02:02.563 - 00:02:10.257
Then once you've gone on active duty then you're really going to be tested because your training is over. 00:02:10.257 - 00:02:20.072
Your preparation is over and you're out there and you're in charge and you're in a real, live military environment 00:02:20.072 - 00:02:29.652
and you've got to take charge and project your leadership skills. 00:02:29.652 - 00:02:34.314
You've got to let the people who are in your unit know that you're the leader and you're in charge. 00:02:34.314 - 00:02:41.185
Those are the main things that I learned in the Army. 00:02:41.185 - 00:02:45.374

Request transcript of full interview

More Video