Overcome: The story of an ROTC Cadet


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Mar 11, 2007
I did this for a summer creative writing class that I did. I'm taking courses at the local college to get further ahead for entering college in the fall.


John Smith has always wanted to be more, he was a varsity captain of the wrestling team 3 years running, a 2 year varsity football captain and a member of National Honor Society, but that wasn't enough for him. He wanted to be the best he could be, that is why he chose the path of leadership: Army ROTC.

He stepped into the doors of the doctors office bright and early to get his preliminary physical done. Being as anxious as he was, he forgot to fill out the medical history portion of the paperwork. After finishing the history and waiting another hour to get into the office, John is finally finished. As he awaits the clearance to the leave the building by the doctor, he asked what he hopes to do with his life. John replies: "Sir, I want to be a Ranger, just like my father". With a puzzled look, the doctor tells him everything looks good and he'll hear from DODMERB in a matter of weeks. As John walks to his car he beings to think back to his father, before he left. You see, John's father was a member of 1/75, 1st Batallion of the 75th Ranger Regiment. Deployed in support of Operation: Restore Hope in 1992, He left John when he was merely 4. That was the last time to two ever saw each other. Being a bright kid, John had endless opportunities at his disposal, but chose the Rangers rather than the Medical Corps as his mother had hoped.

John returns home after an ordinary day at school to find the same thing as any other day, his step-father being a slum ball, for a lack of better word and his mother taking the verbal abuse. John, stepping in again puts an end to the argument with his hands rather than his words. As he departs for wrestling practice, he is told not to come back. Coming home after wrestling he packs his things and moves in with his best friend, and his father who has become the father John never got the opportunity to have. To make things worse, John receives a disqualification letter from DODMERB the next day. John is faced at a crossroads: Give up or Stay the course? Remembering the never quit attitude his father had, he choses the later and begins the lengthy waiver appeal process. After months of hard work on the wrestling mat with a spotless 38-0 record, John makes it to the state tournament. Pitted against some of the finest, and coming from a second-rate wrestling program, John is counted out to be a state title contender. 3 days later John arises from the ashes just as the pheonix had done so many a times with a medal around his neck: The number one wrestler in the 215 pound weight class in the State of Ohio. To celebrate his victory and his birthday alike, John goes and gets his first and only tattoo. He simply gets the word OVERCOME written down his Lat Muscle to serve as a daily reminder of what he must do to be what he wants to be.

Coming back to his new home, John has a big blue and white envelope waiting for him on his bed in the guest room, inside is a waiver issued by the United States Army Cadet Command. He is overfilled with Joy, he can't believe it...Everything is so near.

Months pass and John grows anxious to get his career started, he has been practicing for the PFT every day for months and feels confident in his abilities, however the day before the test he feels the need to do one more dry run, just to see if everything is working out the way he wants. John is on his last lap of the tedious two mile run, and he rolls his ankle. Unable to walk right, he hobbles to his car and goes home...To pack his things. Coming this far, John is determined not to be one of those cadets that it will take the entire first semester to pass the PFT and begin to be recognized as a contracted Cadet. Arriving the next day for receiving day, he is issued one pair of Army PT shorts and a ROTC shirt from his university. He hobbles his way into the line for the pushup test, passing with 74 pushups, making his way to the situp line John is drained, the pain in his ankle is unbearable. He contemplates quitting and then he remembers the lone word written on his body: OVERCOME. He pumps out his reps of pushups just like the smaller boys, with a fantastic number of 68. The moment of truth arrives. Running through his head are feelings of doubts and expecations of failure. Then once again, John realizes he must OVERCOME everything in his path. He gimps his way to a 15:54 finish, just making the Army regulation time limit of 15:56.

The day is June 1, 2011 and John stands in his neatly pressed dress uniform with all of his other cadets at Graduation. The batallion commander stands up, and issues the cadet's first salutes. Four years of endurance and hardship and John has finally done it. Many hurdles were thrown into John's way, but he chose to jump every one of them.

The moral of this story is simple...Never quit, never EVER quit.