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Elliot Wong: An Officer and a Gentleman

When most people think of the college experience, they usually think of lectures and Greek life. The most rigorous and demanding thing for most students is finals, and though many will contemplate future careers, most Aggies aren’t actively preparing for them. That’s not the case for Elliot Wong. As part of the ROTC, he’s on a career path that few people even associate with college: military training.

Major: History

Year: 3rd

Hometown: Cupertino, California

Tell me about yourself.

I have a sister who is also at Davis. I enjoy war movies and costume dramas, and I’ve traveled quite a bit.

Tell me about the ROTC.

ROTC stands for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. It’s one of the 4 commissioning sources for an American citizen to enter the U.S. army as a 2nd lieutenant. The others are direct commissioning, where one would have to be a doctor or a lawyer, West Point, and office candidate school. ROTC is a 4-year program designed to mold an individual into an officer who is able to think on his feet, make decisions, and is confident in leading soldiers.

So what made you interested in the military?

I have always had an interest and a passion in history, primarily military history. My grandfather served in World War II with the Nationalists, and another grandfather was an officer in the fire services. He commanded an entire district in Hong Kong. Also, being a first-generation Asian American, there are few of us in the armed forces to begin with. I feel that I have some obligation to give back to this country that has provided for my family and myself and for the conservative values that America stands for. I also have a desire to be a junior officer in some paramilitary organization.

How did you get involved in the ROTC?

In high school I looked into joining the military after college. I had done research on ways to become an officer and one of them was through ROTC. One of my freshman year suite mates was in ROTC and he provided some inspiration. Joining was a huge step in my desire to enter the army. I had originally wanted to be a marine officer but I realized that it would much more be challenging since the Naval ROTC program is at Berkeley. 

What is your role in the ROTC? What’s it like?

I have served as a platoon sergeant and a squad leader so far this past year. The beginning of next quarter I will be a platoon leader. Here’s a list of some of the stuff that I have done or will do:

Platoon Leader

•    Responsible for all platoon activities

•    Sets the standard and direction of the platoon

•    Communicates company commander’s intent and empowers squad leaders to act appropriately to accomplish the mission

•    Insures Cadet compliance with policies and procedures of the program

•    Creates suspense dates to accomplish platoon missions and enforce standards

•    Serves as a link between squad leaders and the Company Executive Officer and Company Commander

•    Disseminates information from the company chain of command and issues orders

•    Responsible for the training and personal development of the platoon members

Platoon Sergeant

•    Responsible for all platoon activities

•    Responsible for personnel accountability, uniform, equipment, training, and preparation for training the platoon

•    Serves as a link between squad leaders and the First Sergeant

•    Disseminates information from the platoon leader and enforces standards

Squad Leader

•    Responsible for all squad activities

•    Sets the standard and direction of the squad

•    Communicates the platoon leader’s intent and empowers squad members to act appropriately to accomplish the mission

•    Insures Cadet compliance with policies and procedures of the program

•    Creates suspense dates to accomplish squad missions and enforce standards

•    Serves as a link between the Cadets and the platoon leadership

•    Disseminates information from the platoon chain of command and issues orders

•    Responsible for personnel accountability, uniform, equipment, training, and preparation for training at squad level

What are your career or military aspirations?

Assuming everything works out, I ‘d like to serve in the Army for 4 years after college on active duty. I’d like to earn basic parachutist wings and possibly a ranger tab. I’d like to serve in the Signal Corps and pin special operations, possibly in the 75th Ranger regiment.

What have you learned from the ROTC/military training? Any challenges, rewards, or regrets?

ROTC has taught me live a more disciplined lifestyle with regards to carrying out tasks and keeping in shape. I’ve become a more confident leader and more aware of how the military works. I’ve learned basic infantry tactics. I’ve learned how to carry myself in front of small groups of people and how to lead them in carrying out and completing tasks. So far there have not been any regrets. It has been rewarding to see how much I have progressed physically and what my body is capable of.  

Aimee Lim is a junior at UC Davis, pursuing an English major with an emphasis in Creative Writing as well as a minor in Biology. Besides writing and editing for Her Campus at UCD, she is interning as a middle school's teacher's assistant and for the McIntosh & Otis Literary Agency. She also volunteers for the UCD Center for Advocacy, Research, and Education (CARE), which combats campus sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, and stalking. An aspiring novelist, her greatest achievement is an honorable mention in the Lyttle Lytton "Worst Opening Lines to a (Fictional) Novel" contest. Besides writing, she loves reading, movies, music, women's history, and feminism.Follow her blog at https://lovecaution.wordpress.com.  
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