Up Close & Personal:
ECS Graduate to be Commissioned Officer in ROTC Program
By Chad Neal
Alex Patrick Steinbroner graduated Ellicottville Central School in 2013. He grew up in and around the Ellicottville area and participated in many of the activities involved with growing up around here: sports, academics etc. Now four years later, he will be getting commissioned in the Army ROTC program as Second Lieutenant through St. Bonaventure University. The Villager caught up with Steinbroner for an interview and got to know a little bit more about his accomplishment.
The Villager: What made you decide the military was for you?
Alex Steinbroner: My father, uncle, and grandfather all served, along with a lot of cousins. It had always interested me and I felt some obligation to give back to the country. So many men and women before me gave up so much and I felt that it was my turn.
V: Where did you go after graduation?
AS: I went straight to St. Bonaventure University in the fall of 2013.
V: ROTC right?
AS: Yes. Army ROTC. I chose to go this route because I still wanted to get my college degree. It was the perfect opportunity to both serve the country and get my degree.
V: When did you get into that?
AS: I received my scholarship my senior year of high school. It was a full Army ROTC scholarship and it gave me a full ride to St. Bonaventure.
V: What ranks have you gone through?
AS: Seneca Battalion is the organization that Bonas is a part of. It also consists of Alfred U., Alfred State, Houghton, JCC, and Pitt-Bradford. It’s organized just like a real army battalion with different companies and platoons. When I first got in I was a MS1 (Military Science is the course that ROTC technically falls under. Each academic class is given a number. 1-4.) As an MS1 you’re not really in charge of anything and really focus on personal development. As you progress, you work in larger and larger groups. Freshman develop themselves, sophomores work in squads and teams, and juniors and seniors work at the platoon/ company level. I did well as I progressed and I was given the opportunity to act as (Cadet) Battalion Command Sergeant Major. That means I was the highest ranking Cadet non commissioned officer. I was the Battalion Commander’s right hand man. I also spent time as the Battalion S-3. The S-3 is the operations officer and I did most of the planning for all battalion level events. So in both of these positions I was in charge of working with over 50 Cadets from multiple universities.
V: Is this how you panned it?
AS: No actually, my first plan was to get into the United States Military Academy (West Point). I received congressional nominations and it was like a year-long process. I ended up getting denied, and the Army ROTC program was my backup. It worked out for a reason and I’m so thankful that this is the way it all happened. I recently found out I was selected to be an Army Aviator and I ‘m going to be a Blackhawk pilot. It’s always been my goal since I’ve been in ROTC, and everything finally paid off.
V: How far do you want to go or how far can you go?
AS: I plan on staying in the Army for 20 years. My commitment is 8, but I don’t plan at stopping there.
V: Where have you travelled to?
AS: I spent 2 summers in Fort Knox, Kentucky. I don’t want to go back, haha. I also was given the opportunity to train in the Philippines for a month. It’s a program called the Cultural Understanding and Language Program (CULP). It was one of the best experiences of my life.
V: What is the greatest thing you’ve learned from this experience?
AS: It’s not really a specific thing, but the people I have been able to meet and the friends that I’ve made have been the greatest part of this experience. I’ve been given access to this immense wealth of knowledge that are the men and women of the Army. I have 2 instructors (cadre) right now that have combined 40+ years in the service. And I have complete access to pick their brain and learn everything I can from them. It’s amazing.
V: How does one be a Lieutenant in the Army?
AS: Besides ROTC, the only other way to become an officer is through OCS. I’m not as familiar with the process, but it’s fairly similar to basic training, except it’s obviously geared towards officers.
V: What else can you tell us about your growth in the army?
AS: It’s provided me with experiences that I would never have been able to get on the civilian side. I’ve made some of the best friends that I’ve ever had and I can say without a doubt that my training and experiences have made me a better person. And I technically haven’t even started yet.
Alex Steinbroner will commission as Second Lieutenant on May 13th at St. Bonaventure University.