Deployed during the Holidays

Been trying to get this post written for a while, and a tweet caught my eye today and motivated me to write.

#USArmy Photo of the Day: “Holiday Tour.” Tell us about some of the concerts or shows you’ve seen while deployed.

As I was thinking about our deployed alum, the holiday season, and my own experience being deployed during the holidays I wanted to share what it is like. I was also looking for the picture I took of my Thanksgiving plate in the mess hall in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003. Couldn’t find the pic, but I can still tell the story.

Let me start off with a very recent email from one of our recent grads and recipients of a holiday package.

LT Kathryn Cavan Rogan writes


First of all, thank you so much for the package! I loved everything. I now take my Potsdam pink travel mug to the DFAC in the mornings and get my coffee.  And of course I loved the healthy snacks! You all know me so well.

It really means so much that you all take the time to send deployed Soldiers care packages. People in my unit were shocked that my college sent me anything. But it’s hard to understand how special of an ROTC program Clarkson University really is. You treat all of the cadets as if they are family. I have nothing but great memories of my time in Potsdam with Clarkson Army ROTC. I am so proud to have come from this program. I think about you guys all the time. And I can’t believe how fast time goes by. I am being looked at for Captain in January. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was sitting upstairs and having MSG Empey and MAJ Praynor yell at me for who know what reason.

I have attached some photos. You will be happy to know that LT Frisone and I saw each other yesterday in Kuwait. So we took some pictures for you all. I only had a Potsdam flag.
Katie and Mike in Kuwait

See you all soon! Have a great end of the semester and a wonderful holiday break. I will be home in January for my R&R. I will do my best to come and visit. If not, I should be home before Graduation!


As I think back to my own career two distinct events regarding the Holidays come to mind.

The Holiday Season in 2003 I was in Afghanistan, and I already mentioned the heaping Thanksgiving meal plate (turkey, ham, yams, crab legs, stuffing, and gravy). There was also the USO show right before Christmas that featured Al Franken, Karri Turner from JAG, Daryle Worley, a couple of Redskin cheerleaders, and Sergeant Major of the Army Tilley’s daughter who sang. On Christmas day we even had a Christmas parade on the base featuring Gators and HMMVWs decorated to look like Santa’s sleigh, and a local who brought camel.

Not the best photo, but a pick of the Redskin cheerleaders in Bagram AFG

The second event was a little more reverent. Easter sunrise service in the desert of Iraq just after Desert Storm. What struck me most about that day was that it doesn’t take a big fancy church, our Sunday best, and chocolate candy to remember the reason for the season.

So I hope this Holiday season, and more importantly every day you pause to think about those that are serving in harms way. If you’ve got a good story about the Holidays on the frontiers of freedom, or you got a holiday shipment from the GKB leave us a comment.


The Deadlines approach for 2010-2011

If you are planning to apply for a High School Army ROTC scholarship this year time is running out. First off, if you haven't applied yet you need to get on the Army ROTC website and apply ASAP. Once you apply you still need to do the following four things:

  • Send in transcripts
  • Send in test scores (ACT/SAT)
  • Conduct an interview at an ROTC Battalion
  • Take a Presidential Fitness Test
  • There are two boards left and one of them meets in a little over 2 weeks. The deadline to have everything in for the second board is

    27 December

    The deadline to start your applications for last board is

    10 January

    And the deadline to have everything in for the third board is

    28 February

    You will receive a list of the 5 closest ROTC Battalions to your house, and you can do your interview at any of them, or at a school you want to attend. Keep in mind that many cadre members go on vacation between semesters and over the holidays, so plan ahead.

    If you need to send in test grades you can take a screen shot of your SAT scores from the website and email that to

    Think that’s it for now….Time is running out…Get on it, and Good luck

    Army ROTC is…Leadership (Part 3 of 3)

    Do a Google search for “best leadership course in America” (with or without quotes) and you’ll immediately receive search results for Army ROTC. Without question, becoming an Army ROTC Cadet is the best preparation you can receive for becoming a leader in any environment.

    In a two-, three-, or four-year Army ROTC program, you will receive a leadership education unequaled by any other course or institution. Here’s why…

    Experience, Not Just Education

    From your first day as an Army ROTC Cadet, you will not only learn about the art of leadership, you will practice the art of leadership. Early instruction will ground in the Army Values, which is the bedrock of solid leadership and ethical decision-making.

    You will first learn from senior Cadets how to understand orders and instructions. As you proceed through the ROTC leadership instruction, YOU will give the orders and instructions. You may be responsible for planning a complicated logistical movement, or directing a fast-paced ambush. But you will not just read books and watch slide-shows. You will DO the things necessary to lead.

    The Golden Knight Battalion is a Cadet-run battalion. The senior Cadets serve as the battalion staff and plan and organize the missions. We simulate the environment of a real Army battalion. The rest of the GKB Cadet Corps forms a maneuver company that simulates a real Army company. Our Cadets are trained for years to lead in an Army environment long before they ever must do so.

    This experiential education is part of what makes the Golden Knight Battalion so exceptional.

    Access to the Best Mentors and Cadre

    Army ROTC Cadre are hand-selected from among the best in the enlisted and officer ranks. The Professor of Military Science (PMS), the top Officer and Commander of the ROTC Battalion typically has more than a decade of experience as a senior Officer. The Senior Military Instructor can have close to two decades of experience leading troops [see press release for appointment of Major Joseph Roller, GKB’s newest PMS]

    These leaders have typically seen recent deployments in modern military operations overseas. They know what it takes to lead troops, and they know what today’s leaders need to know as they begin their careers.

    The Golden Knight Battalion boasts an experienced staff with broad experience both in combat and a variety of other special leadership environments. On top of that, the battalion’s proximity to Fort Drum, New York ensures a steady flow of Green to Gold Cadets who can sometimes arrive with the experiences of their own deployments that they sometimes share with the other Cadets.

    One of the best places to get answers about leadership questions and puzzles is right here at the Golden Knight Battalion.

    A Future Career in Leadership

    On the day you complete your time in the Army ROTC, you will commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. You will be in a position of command over troops in the most powerful Army on the face of the planet. Think of this as being an executive in one of the most powerful companies in the world…on your first day.

    It’s reasonable to assume that a Fortune 500 company would want you to acquire some experience in a smaller company before they hired you. In the Army, this is not true. When you finish ROTC, you will already be prepared to join an organization that eclipses the influence of a Fortune 500 company.

    Golden Knight Battalion Cadets have been represented in all the officer grades, from Second Lieutenant to General. As leaders, Golden Knight Battalion alumni do nothing less than command the greatest Army in the world. Their leadership experience begins in Army ROTC.

    GKB Alumni Update: Captain Nicholas Beiniks ’06

    Nicholas Beiniks GKB class of 06

    Beiniks as a GKB cadet in 2005

    The Golden Knight Battalion received this note from Captain Nicholas A. Beiniks, a Clarkson alumnus from the GKB Class of ’06 (in Beiniks’ own words: “the best commissioning class ever”).

    He was happy to send us a thank you note after receiving one of our alumni program’s care packages. We were very happy to hear from a GKB alumnus like him!

    The GKB alumni program LOVES sending care packages to our deployed alumni. The only thing we love more is hearing back from our alumni (and receiving a picture of that CU pennant in an exotic location), whether they are deployed or safe at home.

    Shirley (and everyone else at the Golden Knight BN),

    Hello, I hope all is well back at the Golden Knight Battalion. I received an email from Cadet Wheeler [ed: Wheeler is the current Cadet S-6 Officer] a couple days ago regarding care packages and it reminded me of the totally awesome care package I received from the Golden Knight Battalion when I was deployed last year.

    Since I am not deployed, I’ll donate to help out getting care packages sent to other deployed alumni. Thanks again for doing this, it’s a really awesome program. I really appreciate it, and I’m sure the other alumni do too.


    CPT Nicholas A. Beiniks

    We encourage all GKB alumni to stay in touch with us (yeah, he’s still here) by sending a letter or email. Let us know if you are deployed, or if you know of another GKB alum who is deployed. We would love to send all of you care packages!
    LT Ryan Brown flashing his Pennant in the front seat of a OH58
    You can also stay in touch by joining the GKB Facebook Group.