GSU student leads the way in Air Force ROTC

Ciara Merril. Courtesy photo

Grambling State University’s Ciara Merril has been a member of Louisiana Tech University’s Air Force ROTC program since the start of her freshman year.  

“It is a pretty cool experience,” Merril said. “It is like the best of both worlds being at Grambling and then interacting with the students at Louisiana Tech. It gives me an opportunity to meet people from different walks of life.” 

Originally Merril  was not the only cadet a part of Air Force ROTC.  There were two only cadets along with her that were representing Grambling State University.  Merril is currently the only cadet from Grambling that is a member of the program. 

“One of the challenges that I have to face would most definitely be the difference between the different types of schedules we are on,” Merril said. “With Tech being on a quarter system and Grambling being on a semester system, I would normally make my schedule around Tech’s schedule which can be difficult at times. I would have to change everything that I am doing to make myself available as well.” 

According to Louisiana Tech’s Air Force ROTC website, the program is open to any student on campus willing to do whatever it takes to be an officer in the United States Air Force. It is also open to all majors. In order for an undergraduate student to receive the benefits as well as continue with the program, students must remain within Air Force ROTC for no less than three years. The program is also opened graduate and doctorate students who wish to be in the program for no more than  two years; however, they may be allowed entry on a case-by-case basis. 

“The one thing that I have learned the most is pushing through adversity,” Merrril said. “Throughout the years people have quit the program for many reasons. I wanted to quit my freshman year as well, but I talked with my parents and a couple of friends of mine. Since then I just pushed through the difficulties.” 

The purpose of the program is to create leaders for the United States Air Force.The instructors within the program are in search for  young men and women in college who are brave and courageous enough to put their best foot forward and take initiative. 

The Air Force ROTC is looking for the future warrior-leaders. Individuals who successfully complete either the three or four-year program will be commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the U. S. Air Force. Their objective is to recruit, select, educate and commission quality officer candidates. 

Merril shares her words of encouragement for students who are interested in joining the Air Force ROTC. 

“Be determined and have a goal in mind,” Merril said.  “Know what you want to do in life and push through.” 

Merril is a junior at Grambling State University and is majoring in Elementary Education. 

Upon graduating in the year 2021, her goal as a future Second Lieutenant is to commission either as a Public Affairs Officer or a Security Forces Officer.