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MMI cadets headed to Fort Knox

MARION — School is not quite out for summer.

Sunday, Marion Military Institute welcomed 26 prospective ROTC students to the annual Tiger Orientation Program.

The recruits will stay until Wednesday before leaving for a 30-day leadership training course at Fort Knox, Ky.

“So far it’s going great, we have a lot of very motivated cadets coming in, and a whole lot of surprising cadets coming that get out there and put that little bit of extra work into it, and it really surprises you,” Second Lt. Frank Walker, a former MMI cadet who returned to help with Tiger Orientation. “I really never thought I would be back here, but then I got the call to come back and train these future soldiers and I didn’t hesitate to take the chance.”

According to Lt. Col. James Lake, executive officer of the ROTC program, because MMI is a two-year, military junior college, participants in the ROTC program must complete an accelerated program before being commissioned as officers.

“In order to be able to accelerate, they have to have some type of military background in training before they come here,” said Lake. “One of the ways we do that is by sending them to the 30-day training camp in Fort Knox.”

Lake said recruits had the chance to become acclimated with military life at MMI.

“What we are doing here is some initial, preliminary rudimentary training,” said Lake. “We are also doing some personal administration processing to make sure they are physically fit, and to make sure that all of their paper work and files are correct.”

Montgomery Native Micah Bass was one of the recruits that went to MMI for Tiger Orientation.

“My sister (Second Lt. Erica Goodson) went through this program and she said it was great,” said Bass. “She and I did Army JROTC when we were in high school. We started looking at scholarships and we saw MMI.”

Bass said he and other recruits had been waking up at 4 to 5 a.m. and doing physical training each morning.

“It hasn’t been too bad,” said Bass. “But I can’t wait to get to Kentucky.”