DSU ROTC students ready for deployment in Syria if needed

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After President Donald Trump’s decision to strike a Syrian government airbase, Dixie State University ROTC students are willing to fight in Syria if deployed. 

U.S. warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian government airbase April 6, which stored warplanes that U.S. officials allege were used to carry out chemical attacks that killed 70 civilians. This is the first U.S. strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the country’s civil war. 

Roman Burke, a senior criminal justice major from South Jordan and a member of DSU’s last graduating class of ROTC, said he thinks this decision may affect the type of training and readiness he will be exposed to throughout his military career, but on a relatively small scale. 

“I don’t necessarily think the strike in Syria drastically changed the readiness or the possibility of me being deployed,” Burke said. “However, I think conflict in the Middle East is going to be something that we are going to be dealing with for a very long time.” 

Ethan Janson, a senior business administration major from Washington and a member of DSU’s ROTC, said although the media likes to dramatize foreign issues to gain more viewers, he doesn’t think a war will arise anytime soon. However, if the U.S. does get involved, Janson said because he signed a contract with the military, he cannot be deployed until he finishes school and training. 

“When I became a member of the army, I knew what I was getting myself into,” Janson said. “That doesn’t mean I am necessarily excited about it, but if it happens, it happens. Regardless of what happens, I know I have some time and things I need to do first before I can be deployed.”

Braden White, a senior integrated studies major from St. George and a member of DSU’s ROTC and National Guard, said he is also still in the process of finishing school before he goes off to complete the rest of his ROTC and flight training. He said his aviation unit will probably be deployed in 2018 or early 2019 to Afghanistan.    

However, White said the location can change at any time especially if President Trump decides to send more troops into Syria, which he has already been doing for some time.

“If the Syria conflict goes on for over three years and we get more and more involved with that conflict, then it could be a place that I could be ordered to go as a soldier,” White said. “As long as those orders do not conflict with the oath that I’ve taken, then I am going to carry out those orders and do what I signed up to do.”