Bellarmine's Army ROTC cadets earn national distinction

October 15, 2021

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Members of Bellarmine University’s Army ROTC program, offered in partnership with the University of Louisville, have been recognized recently for national training accomplishments.

Over the summer, 21 juniors went to Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox, Ky., including four from Bellarmine. There, 48 percent of the class earned an overall rating of “outstanding,” which means that 48 percent of the cadets are ranked in the top 15 percent of cadets in the nation, according to Lieutenant Colonel Michael J. Dargavell, department chair and professor of Military Science at UofL.

The Fort Knox event is the largest exercise the Army conducts every year, with about 6,000 cadets competing from May through August.

Dargavell said the cadets always do well, but this year was exceptional.

“Our Bellarmine cadets’ contributions and achievements are an integral part of our success,” Dargavell said. “We truly could not achieve such great feats without the continued support of the Bellarmine community.”

Here are the achievements of Bellarmine’s cadets:

  • Cadet Paul Kotarski, a Business major, achieved an overall “Outstanding” rating (the highest rating), earned the coveted “RECONDO” badge (awarded for overall physical and mental testing performance) and was voted the #1 Cadet in his squad by his peers. Additionally, Paul spent a month in Germany in Cadet Troop Leadership Training honing his leadership skills with a professional, Active-Duty Army unit.  
  • Cadet Jonnathan Amaya, an Exercise Science major, attended Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox. He then attended WHINSEC (Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) at Fort Benning, Ga., where he received professional education and training in security cooperation with soldiers from the United States, Central America and South America.
  • Cadets Sawyer Biven and Samantha Jones are both Nursing seniors at Bellarmine and successfully completed Cadet Summer Training. They will soon become Army nurses, training to care for our nation’s service members.

Bellarmine ROTC students take elective classes on UofL’s campus, where the ROTC program is housed, along with classes required for their majors at Bellarmine. Along with leadership training, ROTC can pay for college tuition and provide other monetary benefits.

"The dedication and sacrifice exemplified by Bellarmine ROTC students to remain above academic and physical standards, manage their time between courses on two college campuses and meet training requirements for the military and academic programs, and be leaders on and off campus is shown in their everyday actions,” said Lindsay Gargotto, director of Bellarmine’s Military and Veteran Services and an Air Force Veteran. “The ROTC students at Bellarmine are setting the bar of student leadership on our campus."  


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