Wandering the Mall an hour before the 185th Commencement began Saturday, one might have witnessed a soon-to-be graduate preparing for life after Wabash.
Caleb Gross ’23 is the first Wabash graduate to be commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army after completing his ROTC training as part of a new comprehensive scholarship partnership between the College, the Army, and Purdue University.
“I am proud to be the first lieutenant to be commissioned out of the ROTC here,” said Gross. “As the first to complete this program, I believe in the value that is coming from this partnership with Purdue, and I am thankful for all who made this happen.”
A full-time student at Wabash, Gross traveled to the 168体育平台下载_足球即时比分-注册|官网st Lafayette campus each week for class and leadership labs. Basic soldiering skills–drill and ceremony, combat medical training, marksmanship, and infantry tactics–are taught to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Seniors are responsible for planning the labs, displaying knowledge and proficiency in the basic skills, and the ability to teach those skills to others.
“I feel very prepared as I begin my career as an officer in the Army,” said the political science major and native of Columbus, Indiana.
Last summer, Gross participated in the month-long Advanced Camp (AC) at Fort Knox, Kentucky, something every ROTC cadet completes before their senior year. AC provides a venue to evaluate each cadet’s soldier and leadership abilities, as well as squad and platoon situational training.
A year earlier, Gross interned with the U.S. Marshals Service, where he shadowed deputies and familiarized himselfwith daily activities.
Following his commissioning, Gross will report to Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, where he will enter the Armor Basic Officer Leader Course. He will train on the M1 Abrams Tank and learn effective combat leadership techniques.
“Caleb has been instrumental in the success of the partnership through his constant dedication and leadership to both Wabash College and Purdue Army ROTC,” said Lieutenant Colonel Kevin C. White, professor of military science at Purdue University. “He was the conduit who allowed us to solve the challenges to make this day possible, as his resolve to service never wavered.”
Announced in 2020, the scholarship program covers the full cost of tuition and on-campus room and board at Wabash, as well as all costs associated with ROTC courses at Purdue. The value for four-year participants is in excess of $240,000.
“Everything has led to this point and I'm ready to head to Fort Benning,” said Gross, who studied abroad in Italy while at Wabash through the Rudolph Scholarship in 2022. “I know this is going to be an awesome job. I have so much to learn.”