Profile: NROTC Battalion Officer
Sarah Brewington | News Editor | The USD Vista
Khaki colored clothing, black backpacks, and spotless uniforms. While students at the University of San Diego seem to blend in on every other day of the week, Wednesdays are different. The middle of the week, members of the student body stand out in uniforms that identify them as being a part of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).
USD is home for hundreds of ROTC students. These students aspire to be officers in the army, the navy, and the marines. Whether they are coming from military families, or are just trying to pay their way through college, each student has a different story.
Driving through Rayne, Louisiana more than two decades ago, the parents of Rayne Bachman enamored by the unique name of the city, chose the name of their son. Rayne Bachman is currently in his last semester at USD.
Coming from a family where both his grandfather and father served in the United States Armed Forces, Bachman as well aspires to be an officer in the Navy. Bachman is a part of the Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) at USD. Bachman chose the Navy because of his love of the water.
Engaging in activities from travel to leadership positions, the mechanical engineering major has experienced a full range of opportunities since his time at USD.
Bachman decided to come to the USD for a variety of reasons.
“I chose USD because both my brother and sister went to UCSD and lived in San Diego for that time,” Bachman said. “I also cross referenced USD [because] it has ROTC, it has a great engineering program and I can be close to my family in San Diego. It has the water, and I absolutely love the water. All those factors made it come together. I chose this school over UCSD because the unit is here.”
USD houses the ROTC program for colleges in San Diego, so students who are from PLNU, UCSD or SDSU come to USD’s campus to participate in the ROTC program.
Bachman is the Battalion Executive Officer for the NROTC program at USD. He is one of three student representatives that oversee the entire battalion. There are squads, which make up platoons, which make up companies, which make up the battalion.
Despite the responsibility, Bachman enjoys his role.
“I love it, it’s tons of work,” Bachman said. “Lots and lots of work. I just feel so involved and I get to make decisions. I don’t feel like I am just going with the flow I get a say in things. I get a lot of interaction with the officers.”
While Bachman is the Battalion Executive Officer, he still participates in activities that all NROTC students must partake in at USD. From naval science classes, which are required for a naval science minor, to physical trainings, Bachman and many NROTC students prepare for the Navy inside and outside of the classroom.
Outside the classroom is far different from a student’s typical field trip. For NROTC students, outside the classroom activities can range from drills to visiting other countries.
Bachman explained that all NROTC students have the chance to participate in a three summer programs. Called cruises, these month long programs differ from year to year.
Bachman explained one of his cruises where he was able to shadow an enlisted member.
“On mine I went to Japan,” Bachman said. “I spent time in Japan and got to see Zacusca and Tokyo. It was awesome a great experience as well, good training.”
During his last cruise this past summer, the only mandatory cruise of the three years, he shadowed an officer, and was able to choose which area of the Navy he wanted to observe at a closer level.
“This cruise is service selection specific you choose what position you want based on what community you want to go into in the Navy,” Bachman said. “Mine was explosive ordinance disposal, the community that I want to get into. Guys that diffuse bombs. I spent a month doing that cruise, it was amazing, it was so much fun, I want to go back.”
Bachman later discovered that he was selected to be a submarine officer. Despite the wait, Bachman is very enthusiastic and grateful for the opportunity.
“I’m honored to serve in the elite Submarine force in the world’s finest military,” Bachman said.
And while these NROTC students may take similar courses and complete similar training, the future beyond NROTC is uncertain. Bachman explained that while students can advertise which areas of the Navy they want, it is ultimately up to the Navy where they are placed.
After graduating this winter, Bachman will have five required years to serve in the Navy as a part of the contract. The Navy pays for his tuition and in return he serves the Navy.
“That is the most nerve-racking,” Bachman said. “The next five years of my life, I become an active duty officer.”
While Bachman explained that the next five years can be uncertain for some, Bachman plans to stay in the Navy for at least 20 years, and make a career out of it.
Bachman chose the military for the potential impact that he can make on people’s lives.
“I have always wanted to join the military,” Bachman said. “A big fulfillment in my life that makes me feel successful is helping people. So I decided to join the military because I thought that would be the most immediate way to do that. I went to Uganda a couple summers ago and stayed at an orphanage and helped the workers. And I think that expressed why I want to join the military because I want to help people and save people’s lives.”
Bachman is looking forward to a career in the Navy, as well as a chance to fulfill his passion by helping those in need.