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ROTC Cadet Relishes UNH Criminal Justice Program, Jumping From Airplanes

Release Date:
10/6/2011 2:34 PM
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UNH Only One of Three Colleges in Connecticut to Offer ROTC Programs

University of New Haven: Adam Wolfe, ROTC

Adam Wolfe

Oct. 6, 2011

WEST HAVEN, CONN. -- Adam Wolfe applied to nine schools for college and was accepted into every one of them. 

He turned down eight schools, including the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, to attend the University of New Haven because it had what the other colleges did not: a prestigious criminal justice program and an Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program.

“West Point consists of mostly engineering and science and I really wanted to study criminal justice,” he says.  “I want to serve in the military and have wanted to since high school. However, I wanted to attend college first.  I found out about ROTC at UNH and now I am getting the best of both worlds.”

Wolfe wants to eventually work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  When he graduates from UNH, he will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army.

The ROTC program has been good to Wolfe, a junior minoring in Arabic.  ROTC pays for tuition and fees, provides a stipend of $300 to $500 a month, and contributes $600 a semester for books and other expenses.  UNH also waives a quarter of the room and board fee for ROTC students.

The intangibles might be worth more to Wolfe than the actual benefits.

“I have learned so much in this program.  It really builds you as a leader and gives you experience that you can only receive by the United States Army.  I will use this training first as an officer and then in my civilian career” he says.   “I like the structure of the ROTC program and how it builds respect for the people around you. I also like the emphasis on ethics and that you learn what leadership really is.”

Wolfe, who is from Southwick, Mass., is trying to earn a perfect -- and rare-- 300 score on the monthly physical fitness tests, based in part on the number of pushups, sit ups and running time. So far, he has achieved a 299 score on many of his Army physical fitness tests. “I have come so close; it is a real challenge.  I only need to be two seconds faster on the running time. I now make sure to wear a watch when I run to help monitor my pace,” he says.

And speaking of challenges, Wolfe has learned from the Army how to land on his feet – literally.  This summer, he learned how to jump out of a C-130 aircraft at a specialty school known as Airborne School at Ft. Benning, Ga.

University of New Haven: Adam Wolfe, ROTC 02

The jump lasts four to six seconds depending on the parachute. The parachute opens automatically although there is a reserve parachute should the primary system fail.  Wolfe feels sure that the chances of needing a reserve are very slim.

But landing on your feel is essential.  “You hit the ground at 10 to 20 miles per hour depending on weather conditions,” he says.  “You really have to learn to land right to prevent injury.”

The three-and- a- half- week school is open only to outstanding ROTC cadets from all military branches during the summer after their sophomore year of college,. The school begins, he says, with “ground week” and then with climbs first to a 34 foot tower (more than three stories) and then to a 250 foot tower (25 stories) where jumps are controlled by harnesses and parachutes.

“You get to feel what it is like to exit the aircraft and what it feels like when the chute catches,” he says.

For the first jump out of the aircraft, he says, he was a little nervous but “really pumped.  When I turned and jumped out of the door I felt a rush,” says Wolfe. “I felt the jerk of the chute and I saw my chute had opened wide above me – thank God.  I took in the moment and it was exhilarating and yet also relaxing.  As I descended to the ground below I had my training kick in and keep me going.”

The experience included five jumps from the airplane, two “Hollywood” style – only a primary chute, reserve chute and helmet – and three with full battle gear.  The last jump is at night where “you cannot see anything.  I’ve seen paratroopers jump in movies and have read about them, but it was really cool to do it in person,” he says. “I am happy to follow in the footsteps of past paratroopers such as the men who jumped on D-Day during World War II.  Ironically, my training started on D-Day -- June 6. ” he says. 

As for the future, Wolfe hopes to serve in the infantry to help build his career, and then go into military intelligence. 

Now that he has done the airborne school, he hopes to pursue Army Ranger training.  He also hopes to earn a master’s degree and end up in the FBI before he turns 37, the maximum age the FBI has for recruiting agents.

“The ROTC program came to the UNH campus when I was a second semester freshman and every year, it has doubled in membership,” he says. “Being in ROTC rocks.  You are a part of something much bigger than yourself and you cannot help but to better yourself and the men and women around you.”

In Connecticut, there are three ROTC programs.  UNH’s Army ROTC is offered to students at any college in southern Connecticut; one at UConn offers Army and Air Force ROTC to students in northern Connecticut and one at Yale offers Naval and Air Force ROTC. There are 100 ROTC cadets training at UNH.

For more information, about the ROTC programs, contact Major Glenn Colby:  gcolby@newhaven.edu; (203)931-2998.  

A leader in experiential education, the University of New Haven provides its students with a valuable combination of solid liberal arts and real-world, hands-on professional training. Founded in 1920, UNH is a private, top-tier comprehensive university with an 82-acre main campus. The university has an enrollment of more than 5,900: approximately 1,700 graduate students and more than 4,200 undergraduates, 70 percent of whom reside in university housing. The university offers 75 undergraduate and graduate degrees through the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, the Tagliatela College of Engineering and University College. University of New Haven students study abroad through a variety of distinctive programs.