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Wishes have been granted for rooks

By Mitch Pryzbocki
On December 8, 2011

For the past few weeks, rooks walked around campus with a different air about them, after completing basic training, the culminating event, and receiving their new privileges.

In recent years, privileges have been broken down more clearly and rooks have gotten a more organized experience, according to the regimental commander.

The regimental commander for the 2011-2012 year is Cadet Col. Don DiBastiani, a 21-year-old senior accounting and business management major from Harford County, Md. DiBastiani kept a lot of the privileges and basic plans for rookdom similar to last year.

"We tried to keep it pretty much exactly the same as last year, especially the privileges," DiBastiani said. The privileges include being able to walk at ease outside, no longer squaring the hallways in their buildings and being able to talk to rook buddies and cadre at meals.

Rooks have to participate in a culminating event to earn their privileges and this year DiBastiani wanted to add a little more competition to the event.

"A lot of the things the rooks did were about the same, but we did add in two bunks and a wall locker. The rooks had to SOP (standard operating procedure) it and they were timed to see who was the fastest, bringing competition into it. They had drill and ceremony knock out, which is a contest to see who can do facing movements to commands the best," DiBastiani said.

There was also a truck pull and regular standard physical training and the traditional run up Mount Paine.

"The culminating event was significantly longer than last year's. We started at 0700 and ended around 1400," DiBastiani said.

Cadet Major Janet Roswell, a 21-year-old senior physical education major from New Hampton, N.H., coordinated the culminating event.

"Several hours were spent planning and organizing the day. There was a lot of coordination between the rook battalion staffs, the commandants, and select members of regimental staff. We also had to deal with the event moving up an entire week leaving us with limited time to work in final details," Roswell said.

Jim LaBell, a 19-year-old sophomore communications major from Stanhope, N.J., is a cadet corporal and remembers last year's culminating event, even though he did not participate.

"We had a home football game that day, but we could see all the rooks running around on Mount Paine and we could hear yelling, it looked pretty intense," LaBell said.

According to Roswell, the coordinators of this year's event wanted to keep the intensity of physical training, but they wanted to incorporate everyday rook knowledge as well as corps of cadets rules and regulations, while keeping the event competitive.

Many freshmen have been looking forward to these privileges. The culminating event took place towards the end of rook basic training; however, they did not get the privileges immediately after the event. They had to wait until the official end of basic training, according to the cadet colonel.

"We've been told like six different times we're getting our privileges so it is getting frustrating," said Ken Owens, an 18-year-old freshmen electrical computer engineering major from Fountain, Col.

"The rooks definitely deserve their privileges," Roswell said.

According to many rooks, walking at ease outside will be the most rewarding. Owens says he is most looking forward to "being able to walk like a normal human being."

Other privileges, such as talking at meals, will be rewarding too, said Ryan Garvey, a 19-year-old freshmen majoring in criminal justice from Wareham, Mass.

"Walking outside at ease is going to be great. I was just sitting in chow hall next to another rook, literally right next to each other, and I couldn't talk to him so having that privileges will be good as well," Garvey said.

A week and a half later, the cadet colonel awarded the freshmen their privileges at morning formation in front of the entire corps. According to DiBastiani, the way the privileges are broken up now is more efficient than past years.

"This is kind of built now so that each phase is the same privileges for everyone not certain companies," DiBastiani said. The cadet colonel referred to his freshman year when the colonel of that year would give the rooks privileges when he felt they deserved it and would recognize them when he felt ready to do so.

"In about October of my freshman year people weren't doing well with their grades and the colonel at the time gave us the privilege to sleep in our racks during the day, which of course caused a big controversy. Now we're set within a certain phase because the cadet colonel used to just say what the freshmen got when he felt like it. We couldn't talk outside until March when recognized," DiBastiani said.

The new system will allow the rook experience to run more smoothly, all the privileges are written in the rook book so they can work towards it, according to DiBastiani.

"On that Wednesday morning when they got their privileges, I thought it was funny that cadre were telling their kids not to abuse the privileges. How do you abuse walking outside? I think these kids deserve it," LaBell said.

According to Roswell, getting small privileges throughout the year is good for the rooks and keeps them working hard.

"They are working toward one big reward: to be recognized. Little incentives need to be given along the way to keep it interesting and to reward them for their progress thus far. They have done a great job this year," Roswell said.

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