SFA cadets relieved Iraq combat is over

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Three young men at SFA began pursuing a military career during wartime, so their reaction to the U.S. ending its combat role in Iraq is predictable.

"Oh, yes, that is a real, that's a major sigh of relief," Specialist Gabriel Grady said.

"It makes it a whole lot easier decision to make knowing it's not going to be on the back of my mind any more that I may have to go to war or, you know, see some things I might not want to see," Cadet Rashad Price said.

"It does ease my mind that the chances of any complications will be a lot less," Cadet Roger McGrew said.

However, their commanders will see to it that each ROTC member fully understand American troops remain in harm's way, in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Myself and the instructors on staff here are all combat veterans from either Iraq or Afghanistan or some cases both," Lt. Col. Todd Reichert said. "And I think that something we can do for our students and we owe to our students who are all future army officers is to give them our perspective on the current conflict and our experiences with it and to do things that will help them prepare and lead soldiers in those situations."

The reminder gives young future officers something to think about.

"I try not to think about it," McGrew said. "I want to just get my training done and do what's right, really."

It's difficult finding fault in that. McGrew and Price are pursuing medical careers in hopes of helping injured veterans. Grady is seeking a military career in criminal justice.

SFA's ROTC program has grown during wartime. Last fall enrollment in the Lumberjack Battalion was up 30 percent.

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