Military Service

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 2012-05-03


00:00:00.000 Well I'll have to tell you that military service for me was one of the very best things that ever happened to me.
00:00:08.389 For one thing if you go through ROTC it doesn't matter whether it's Army or Navy, Marine Corps or the Air Force,
00:00:16.625 you're going to have-.
00:00:20.483 You will be in a program that will develop you as a leader
00:00:25.709 and develop your leadership skills way beyond any other thing you could do in college.
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,
00:00:38.499 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,
00:00:49.241 which is what you do in ROTC.
00:00:52.114 So the primary impact on me was in development of my leadership skills
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
00:01:07.816 are things that I learned in Army ROTC and that I learned on active duty.
00:01:12.863 One of the great things about going through that program is that
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
00:01:24.591 and if you go right on to active duty as a second lieutenant you're going to be given a responsibility
00:01:34.904 that anybody else wouldn't have until they're in their late twenties, probably.
00:01:40.053 I mean you're going to have a lot of responsibility.
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.
00:01:52.903 My point is that you'll get a higher level of responsibility at an earlier age than you ever would doing anything else,
00:02:02.563 and that's one of the reasons why I really encourage students at NC State to look at ROTC.
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.
00:02:20.072 Your preparation is over and you're out there and you're in charge and you're in a real, live military environment
00:02:29.652 and you've got to take charge and project your leadership skills.
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.
00:02:41.185 Those are the main things that I learned in the Army.