Santa Clara ROTC Alumni Memories

ROTC Memories: ROTC alums share their memories of the program.

This fall, we invited ROTC alums to submit their answers to the following questions. Click a question to see their responses.






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Anything else you'd like to share?

I served in Viet Nam as did two of my brothers. I have felt that the SCU alumni that followed my days went in a different direction than I did. ROTC gave me the opportunity and the burden of fighting in a war that turned people against me and condemnations from those I felt were friends. I was also the founder of the Catholic Interracial Council back in 1964-65. I was the president of the Democrat Club on campus. I am ashamed of how those activities have been overshadowed by the radical liberal thinking that was spurred on in the name of Anti-war. I am proud of the ROTC unit I served with and my service in Viet Nam despite the pain and grief to me and my brothers.

Joseph DiLeonardo '65

My 3rd child, later to graduate from Santa Clara, was born prematurely while we were at Fort Sill. She was in the hospital 6 weeks and our total cost was $25. I had to pay full price for the other 5.

Curtis Cole '55

ROTC gave me the opportunity to proudly "protect and defend the constitution of the United States." I cannot tell you how honored I was to serve and be a member of the greatest Army in the world. "HOOAH!"

Richard Ostermann '76

I value my time in the military and would not have traded it for anything.

Dave Rigney '63

ROTC and the opportunity to be a commissioned officer gave me a great start in life. It gave me confidence and prepared me for my life as a civilian.

Richard Wood, '54, J.D. '59

Where else, but as a platoon leader, do you start your career responsible for the very lives of 40 individuals, accountable for a multimillion dollar inventory, issued a vehicle with a driver, and, best of all, given a platoon sergeant with 15-20 years experience as your personal advisor?

Tom Eichenberg '76

Santa Clara U was a great experience for me, the police department was a great place to work, and I am very proud of having made great friendships and wonderful memories.

David Coppom '70

Never once did I look upon ROTC as a way to get through college. Rather, I looked at college as a way to get through ROTC. There is an honor in serving. Unlike what Stephen Pasos '79 entitled his column in the Thursday, May 10, 1979 edition of The Santa Clara, ROTC did not corrupt my mind. Interesting that he did not compare ROTC to the Communist Party of Stalin and Mao, but to the KKK and The Nazi Party. Funny, the things one holds onto.

Thomas Robinson '79

I wish that my sons had the same experience.

Rick Enos '68

The most embarrassing moment of my time in ROTC is when myself and Paul Martin '68 (both seniors) were to meet the commanding general of the western ROTC region. We came to Varsi Hall earlier than we were supposed to and goofing around as we usually did. I grabbed the entry door and swung it open pretty quickly and with force just at the same time that on the other side of the door the general had put his hand on the knob to go outside. I essentially pulled him through the door where he fell on the ground right in front of Paul who could only see stars... luckily he took it in good humor.

Michael McNellis '82

I think the military has changed considerably since I was active ... some for the better and some for the worse. Most guys I've talked to over the years, with the exception of Viet Nam, look back at their military time as certainly worthwhile and are happy to have had the experience ... including me.

Rich Scholz '54

Compared to today's program, we had it pretty easy. Little if any physical training, campouts on our little quad, gentlemen's approach to summer camp.

Dan Fitzgerald '64

When I was in ROTC, Dean Don Polden's father was in charge of the program. When I see photos of the dean, he clearly reminds me of his dad, who was a fine gentleman and a great role model for all our cadets.

Al Girolami '61

A great experience and resource that Santa Clara ROTC provided that should never be reduced or eliminated. Future cadets will continue to benefit.

Wain Stowe '60

Currently a game-show host for a local golf program on the Hawaiian Islands called DA Game ... go to dagameshow.com for the lowdown.

David Ward '70

During my years in ROTC at Santa Clara, 1973-76, the Army integrated women into the ROTC Program. My classmate and fellow cadet Rita Tamayo '76 (RIP) became the first woman cadet commander of an ROTC program. And finally, for the record, during our senior year physical training (PT) test 2-mile run, rounding the corner, I knocked Dick Ostermann '76 flat on his behind and raced in to win. He loved it, as he was trying to do the same thing to me!! We remain great friends and fierce competitors as fishing buddies.

Mike O'Hara '76

I was a Jesuit for eleven years during which I served in the Far East (Taiwan and the Philippines) as a missionary. After leaving religious life I worked for Muscular Dystrophy for ten years, then as a real estate broker for 12 years, and for the past 20 years as a child care provider with my wife, Mary Ann, in our Family Day Care business. We are still caring for children in our home, licensed for 12, mostly infants and pre-schoolers, including our two grandchildren, Anna Marie, 10, and Jake David, 8, A very rich and diversified life which owed much of its depth and success to my ROTC experience.

David T Van Etten '55

Winter 2012

See all articles from this issue


My fight, my faith

As secretary of defense in an age of budget austerity, Leon Panetta '60, J.D. '63 has to make sure the Pentagon doesn't break the bank and that the nation doesn't break faith with the men and women who serve.

Bronco Battalion

What does it mean for a Jesuit university to be home to the Reserve Officers' Training Corps? Seventy-five years after ROTC came to Santa Clara—and 150 years after officers were first trained on campus—a few answers are clear.

Mission Matters

Going global

A $2 million grant creates a year-long fellowship program—with students taking part in a global network of socially conscious businesses.

Bribes, bombs, and outright lies

Legendary lawyer Clarence Darrow comes to campus—and shows that ethical issues raised in the Trial of the Century remain as vexing today as they did when spittoons lined the courthouse floor.

Alumni Arts

Let me lay it on you

Hot Tuna is back with their first studio recording in 20 years.