University of Oklahoma’s Cadet Jacob Matthews – Army ROTC Spotlight
Jacob Matthews first arrived on campus at the University of Oklahoma in the fall of 2017. He immediately started his involvement in the ROTC program and is now entering his eighth semester on the program. The Mechanical Engineering major with a minor in Military Science said the ROTC program is a challenge but worth the hard work and sacrifices.
“I am in my fourth year, however, I am doing a five-year program since taking Engineering and ROTC requires a lot of course hours,” said Matthews. “Time management is definitely the biggest challenge. Academics always has to be the number one priority however ROTC has its own requirements that have to be met. ROTC is a legitimate commissioning source into the United States military and definitely requires effort and attention. However, you cannot commission without a degree. While it can definitely be a challenge, time management is a great life skill that goes beyond the military.”
The training regimen certainly keeps the cadets like Matthews busy. From physical training during the week to spending time in the classroom, it’s easy to see why time management is a critical skill.
“Each week consists of PT (physical training) Monday-Wednesday-Friday at 6AM. Additionally, there is classroom instruction twice during the week and one Lab, which consists of our tactical training. This is the minimum required training, but there are always additional opportunities for training and physical fitness. For example, on non-PT days, we have the Sooner Battalion Run Club that meets in the mornings and is optional. The Club often participates in local 5K’s and events which provide some unique opportunities as well as quality physical training,” said Matthews.
Recently Matthews has taken over as Battalion Commander, a role he is honored to serve.
“I was very honored to be offered the position. This is my eighth semester in the program, and I have come to love being here and being with the Cadre and Cadets. Being Cadet Battalion Commander definitely comes with more duties and takes up more time out of the day, however, I am proud to serve the other Cadets in the program. Especially in this time of COVID-19 where things don’t always look normal, I try my best to make the ROTC experience just as memorable as it has been for me,” said Matthews.
There are many things Matthews enjoys about the program and the memories he’s made will stick with him for a lifetime.
“My favorite memory was doing the Bataan Memorial Death March two years ago. The march is in honor of the Bataan Death March in WWII where American and Filipino soldiers were marched over 66 miles into concentration camps. The Memorial March is at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. A group of about 20 Cadets took vans down there for a few days to complete the 26.2-mile marathon. It was quite challenging, as we did so with 35-pound rucksacks on. However, we all shared in the pain and made a lot of great memories on that trip,” said Matthews.