Many cadets in the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) experienced a day of firsts when they participated in an exciting training opportunity.


Cadets rode Blackhawk helicopters from the UAFS campus to Fort Chaffee for marksmanship training, hands-on learning that helped prepare them for military careers.  


For William Wilson of Aledo, Texas, a student in the ROTC, it was his first time to shoot an M16 rifle and fly in a Blackhawk.


“When I first heard about it, I thought, ‘This is going to be awesome,’” he said. “I’m 22 years old, but I was acting like I was 12 on that day. How many career choices give you the opportunity to fly in a Blackhawk helicopter?”


The ride provided a sprawling view of Fort Smith, but it also gave students a chance to experience different branches of the Army so they could make an informed decision on which branch they would like to enter after completing the ROTC program. Those branches include combat-focused, technological, medical and logistics areas.


“With so many career options, cadets benefit greatly from exposure to multiple branches while in ROTC,” said Maj. Jason Hogue, assistant professor of military science at UAFS. “This event exposed them to both aviation and combat fields.  Other opportunities in ROTC will highlight other branches of the Army to give cadets a well-rounded view of their career options inside the Army.”


Hogue said the training was just one of many ways cadets can do more in the ROTC.


“Throughout the semester, we have many other exciting training events that our students participate in,” Hogue said. “We have many events where we train tactical leadership and decision making with paintball guns. We also train them in water survival and rappelling. Any UAFS student can take ROTC and participate in this type of training.”


It also helped develop the cadets as leaders, another of the tenets in the ROTC program, the goal of which is to develop officers for the United States Army.


“Officers are leaders and managers of organizations with great amounts of responsibility. We develop the capacity to lead through progressive opportunity based leadership training,” Hogue said. “Upon graduation, ROTC students are commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the Army, and placed in charge of organizations with 30-50 people and millions of dollars’ worth of equipment. Their training in ROTC prepares them for this great responsibility.”


Cadets participating in the training were:


Aledo, Texas: William Wilson.


Alma: Corbin Sexton.


Charleston: Albert Spanel.


Cowlington, Okla.: William Hutson.


Fort Smith: Peyton Bettencourt, Michael Dotson, Kayle Dryer, Jamekia Poole, Kaliyah Smith and Adrian Whitaker.


Greenwood: Karl Kruskopp and Samuel Lisk.


Lavaca: Zackary Comstock.


Talihina, Okla.: Briar Humphreys.


Van Buren: Jonathan Jones.


Wister, Okla.: Lane Carpenter.


The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps is a leadership program seeking students that want more from their college experience. The program trains students from every major on campus to be leaders in their field after graduation. ROTC graduates can serve on active duty in the military or closer to home in the National Guard or reserves.


Students can enroll in ROTC classes with zero commitment to the military, and those who choose to sign a contract with the Army to serve as officers upon graduation receive generous scholarship opportunities.


For more information about the ROTC program, contact Hogue at 479-788-7522 or


About the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith


The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is the premiere regional institution of Western Arkansas, connecting education with careers and serving as a driver of economic development and quality of place in the greater Fort Smith region. Through a small campus, dedicated professors, and the university’s unique bond with its community, students at UAFS are able to do more in the areas they are passionate about, both on- and off-campus, in a way that prepares them for post-graduate success. To find out how you can do more at UAFS, visit


Article by John Post, Director of Public Information
Photo Credits: 
Rachel Putman, Photographer, Marketing and Communications
Date Posted: 
Thursday, November 3, 2016
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