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Army Grit and Classroom Smarts: An Update of Alum Alec Rampe

posted Mar 12, 2014, 9:34 PM by Unknown user   [ updated May 13, 2014, 8:14 AM by Unknown user ]

Abby Shroll

Diploma in hand and ready to conquer the future, 2013 graduate Alec Rampe has been experiencing immense changes with his transition from the small town of Van Buren, to the Ohio Army National Guard. While he is a member of the National Guard, specifically in construction and masonry, he is also a student at the University of Cincinnati majoring in Secondary Education in Social Studies.

The Ohio Army National Guard is similar to the ROTC program (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps). ROTC is a college-based program which trains officers that will later serve in the Army after schooling.

Under his contract by the state,however, Rampe could be sent to serve at anytime by the state, anywhere in the country or even by the federal government overseas.

The National Guard pays full tuition for state schools, and a significant amount of money for private school tuitions.

“I have always wanted to serve in some way, however, I always wanted a career outside of the military,” stated Rampe.

Citing the advantages provided by the National Guard, Rampe said, “[The National Guard] gives me the opportunity to get a degree while still being ready to serve if my unit is called. Another nice part of the National Guard is if out of college I am having trouble finding a job, it is easy to transfer to Active Duty Army or sign on with another Guard unit that is being deployed overseas.”

He also added that the National Guard works great with going to school because training hardly conflicts with classes.

Rampe first went to Army Basic Training in Fort Leonard Wood Missouri this past summer which “entailed a lot of yelling”. Rampe then went to Individual Training in the fall in Gulfport, Mississippi which trained for his job in construction and masonry.

“[It] was fun because it was on a Navy Base on the Gulf Coast and on weekends we could go out to the beach,” stated Rampe.

While at school, Rampe still meets one weekend a month at Camp Sherman in Chillicothe, and two weekends in the summer.

“Now my monthly training consists of basically reviewing everything I did this summer whether it be in Basic or my Individual Training. For example t

his month we are qualifying with our weapons again. I'm looking forward to it!” said Rampe.

Since he signed an 8 year contract when he was 17, Rampe will continue this routine for the next 6 and a half years. Rampe has many future adventures to embark on in and out of the classroom.

What are the physical requirements? We do need to keep in good physical condition. This summer I had to take a physical fitness test every two weeks, which consisted of push ups, sit-ups, and a 2-mile run. Now I will be taking one every 6 months and if I do not pass, my scholarship is suspended. That is plenty of motivation for me but it is all on the individuals, the army doesn't have a program for in between training dates.

How has your experience been so far with the National Guard? I love it, I enjoyed every part of this summer even though it was tough at times. I continue to like going to drill and I love that I can pursue a civilian career while I'm in the Army.

How was the transition from training back to college? Honestly, it was a little hard to get used to the whole school thing again. After I graduated from Van Buren, I went off to my training which didn't exactly stress book work. I loved all of the things I got to do at Basic and down in Mississippi, but when I got to school it was hard to get back into the reading and writing groove. Not to mention that I went 3 months without technology and another month with limited technology, so it took the month I had at home before I went to college to get integrated back into the normal world.

Would you recommend the National Guard to anyone else? I would absolutely recommend to anyone interested in serving their country. It is a great way to serve while also getting your college paid for, though it is by no means free. I also wish everybody had the chance to go through Basic Training. You learn so much about yourself while you are there. I always played sports in school. While I was always in it just to have fun, I felt like I put a lot of time and work into my sports. Basic Training made me realize that I didn't do anything as compared to the work that I could have put in for those sports. It taught me how to focus on a goal and not allow anything to stop you from getting it. The conditions for 2 months were never fun and there were a lot times when it would have been easy to quit, I learned to never let that thought cross my mind. I know for a fact that I did not have the same attitude in high school. Looking back at it I will say that I actually did have some good times at Basic and I would absolutely do it again. There are things you do and learn there that you can't anywhere else in the world.