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Nursing Student to Battalion Commander

June 9, 2014

Getsay with GunBSN student Sarah Getsay is looking forward to her senior year as Cadet Battalion Commander of Drexel’s Army ROTC. Getsay, a rising senior at the College of Nursing and Health Professions, has been selected to hold this highest ranking position for the upcoming fall and winter terms. In her new role, Getsay will be responsible for all battalion activities and ensuring that the commander’s intent is fulfilled in every training event. Getsay will be working with a staff comprised of other senior students from the university to set the standard and direction of her unit while providing guidance and support to younger cadets.

This selection came after a four-day Joint Field Training Exercise at Fort Dix, New Jersey, from April 10-13. The exercise is the final formal training for the cadets before their Leadership Development and Assessment (LDAC) course during the summer, a twenty-nine day capstone that evaluates leadership skills in a garrison and tactical environment. Drexel Army ROTC, along with cadets from Temple and Widener Universities, made up a group of sixty-seven junior cadets. During the exercise, cadets practiced STX lanes and patrolling, which are squad- and platoon-level tactical exercises. Cadets were also assigned to various levels of leadership positions such as squad leader or platoon leader and were evaluated on several different competencies that assessed their abilities to lead and accomplish a mission. Getsay was tasked with the extra duty of carrying over forty pounds of ammunition in her ruck throughout the exercise.

Getsay said that although the weekend was exciting, all of the cadets were thankful to be able to wash their hands for the first time in five days upon their return, as well as feast on pizza and Chinese food.

Getsay transferred to Drexel University during her sophomore year from Grove City College after changing her major from Biology to Nursing. She first heard about Army ROTC while visiting another university and decided to inquire about ROTC opportunities in Philadelphia. When she came to visit Philadelphia, Getsay applied for Drexel’s three-year ROTC nursing scholarship, for which she had to complete an Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) and a formal interview at the Drexel ROTC Unit. Getsay was awarded a full-tuition scholarship and packed her bags to move to Philadelphia.

Getsay says that being a cadet in the ROTC has been beneficial in so many ways. It has forced her to become more adaptable and resilient in difficult situations. “There’s so many times that I’ve been tested on my grasp of military knowledge and had to think on my feet. I’ve also been physically challenged,” explained Getsay. She is a member of the Ranger Challenge Team, a group of nine cadets that participates in physically intense competitions every year where events such as weapons assembly contests and 10k ruck marches take place. Getsay said that although the mental and physical stress can be difficult at times, she “wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything,” as she believes they have made her a tougher, stronger, and more well-rounded individual. “Just from the two years I’ve spent in ROTC, I feel that I have become better at both leading and following and learning when to step into either role,” she said.

Getsay said that the leadership skills she has picked up as a cadet have helped her as a student nurse as well, and will absolutely contribute to  her success as a nursing leader in the Army. Getsay notes that she is excited for her future career in the Army and hopes to receive Active Duty Status so that she can fulfill her goal of being stationed at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii for her first assignment. In terms of her nursing career, Getsay hopes to pursue either a critical care or an emergency medicine specialty. She said she can picture herself as an Army Flight Nurse or a Nurse Anesthetist.

Getsay closed, “We have an amazing program here at Drexel, and it will be an honor to lead it come this September!”