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Cadet Life in the Golden Buffalo Battalion

Commissioning officers to serve in the United States Army since 1948, the University of Colorado’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program is one of the most highly respected, prestigious units in the nation.  Our officers have gone on to serve with distinction in every theatre of war since the unit’s inception, and the Golden Buffalo Battalion’s reputation has remained unparalleled as we move forward in the 21st Century.

A few recent highlights of the program are as follows:

  • Back-to- back Army Ten Miler Championships (2002, 2003) third place (2004) in Washington D.C., beating out over a hundred teams sent by West Point, other ROTC programs, and Active Duty units.
  • Four consecutive top-three placements in the Western Region Ranger Challenge, including the championship in 1999.
  • Consistent top-three placements in the Bataan Memorial Death March, a desert marathon conducted in White Sands, NM every spring.
  • Annual Distinguished Military Graduates, who have been placed within the top 10% of the 4,000+ cadet population, including one 2004 graduate who within top 10 cadets in the nation.
  • Female Championship for the 2003 Ranger Buddy Competition.
  • Competitive Intramural Hockey and Basketball teams with tremendous success.
  • Annual CU-Boulder Army ROTC Alumni reunion usually held before the homecoming football game. 

Cadet Testimonials

Cadet VonBehren

Cadet VonBehren, Charlie Company

Cadet VonBehren, MS4, attends the University of Colorado Denver.

"I joined the Army ROTC program as a sophomore since I came in with college credit and prior military service. Before enrolling in the ROTC, I spent eight years as an active duty medic, served three tours in Iraq, and obtained the enlisted rank of E-6, Staff Sergeant. I was able to transfer from active duty into this program with a Green to Gold scholarship that paid for my tuition. Many of my peers have scholarships through the program itself or from their National Guard or Army Reserve units. Not having to work a job to pay for college allows us to focus more on school work and to balance ROTC and extra-curricular activities.

While I knew a great deal about the Army and leadership in general from my prior service, I was surprised at how much I had to learn once I joined the program.  Our military courses cover topics ranging from military tactics and battle analysis, strategic leadership, unit operations, planning and executing training, and a great deal more that I never realized Army officers had to know. Each year the program develops us as leaders by placing us in positions of greater responsibility. We learn to accomplish missions within the limits and guidance of our superior cadre and cadets, work cohesively with our peers to build the team, and to develop and train our subordinate cadets as they learn how to become leaders and future officers. We may have experienced Army officers as our instructor cadre members, but this program truly is ‘for the cadets, by the cadets’ which allows us to learn how to lead and develop our future Soldiers, without being lectured or ‘talked through’ the process. Relevant hands on training in real world and realistic scenarios are the key to our success as future Army leaders.

My three years in the program not only enhanced my knowledge and leadership skills, but also improved my physical fitness. I believed that after eight years I was pretty much already in the best shape of my life. I quickly learned that I was mistaken. The altitude and challenging physical training program helped me take my fitness level higher than before, and has given me confidence in my ability to compete in previously unimaginable events like half marathons and triathlons.

When I graduated high school, I wanted nothing to do with college.  However, after a few years in the Army, I realized that higher education was the key to my future, and I tried to attend online and evening courses, with little success. Academics are very important to the program, so I am strongly encouraged to attend all classes and really learn the course material. Being in the ROTC program has allowed me to earn a degree in a field that I find relevant and interesting, while still focusing on my military development. I hope to apply my knowledge of general geography and environmental science as a Transportation Corps Officer in the active duty Army."
Cadet Rothenbucher

Cadet Rothenbucher, Alpha Company

Cadet Rothenbucher, MS4, attends the University of Colorado Boulder.

"I was in AJROTC in high school and was motivated to join the program by my JROTC instructor. I also was a three-sport athlete (football, wrestling, and track), a member in 4-H, and participated in many other clubs in high school. In college I have participated in the Ranger Challenge team, Bataan Memorial Marathon, Color Guard, and other ROTC extracurricular, as well as a variety of activities outside ROTC, such as Ju-Jitsu. The ROTC program has benefited me not only in receiving a college education, but I have also gained the experience and knowledge to lead and motivate individuals in any work environment, while having the opportunity to serve my country.

ROTC teaches young men and women to be organized, adaptable, and confident in their decisions by reinforcing important skills such as effective communication both oral and written. Other skills I have learned, such as the presentation of oneself in a professional manner and learning to speak in front of an audience have been very applicable throughout all facets of life. Additionally, the ROTC program teaches you teamwork and refines one’s interpersonal skills. I feel that the ROTC program should be taken by college students to help them learn time management and leadership skills.

I will commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army National Guard as a Forward Support Officer."

Cadet Eagle

Cadet Giralt, Bravo Company

Cadet Giralt, MS4, was raised in Casper, WY. He attends Colorado Christian University, where he plays soccer while on an athletic scholarship.

"While in high school I played three varsity sports: football, wrestling, and soccer. After graduation, I chose to attend Colorado Christian University and was afforded the opportunity to play soccer for the school while on an athletic scholarship. Although I continued to play soccer at CCU for four years, I decided to join Army ROTC at the beginning of my sophomore year. Like many of my peers, I was happy with the direction of my life and college career to that point but it left something to be desired: a greater purpose. That greater purpose came in the form of AROTC and the Golden Buffalo Battalion.

From the moment I joined, AROTC has been a whirlwind of new experiences, opportunities, lessons learned, and new friendships. After my sophomore year of college, I traveled to Ft. Knox, KY to attend the Leader’s Training Course (LTC) which was essentially an accelerated camp to assimilate cadets into AROTC: very similar to Basic Training with drill sergeants and the whole deal. After my junior year, I traveled to Key West, FL to attend the Combat Divers Qualification Course (CDQC) which is a little known school that only admits Army Rangers, Green Berets, and a handful of West Point and ROTC cadets. Following the course, I flew to Ft. Lewis, WA and attended the Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC). In other words, you get to travel with ROTC to a number of places and enjoy what you do through the things that you accomplish. After I graduate and commission as a 2LT in May 2013, I will report to Ft. Lee, VA for Ordnance BOLC and then move on with my Army career.

There are a lot of things to be said about the Golden Buffalo Battalion and the opportunities that it presents for learning and growing as an individual as well as an Army officer, but what truly makes this program unique and excellent is the cadre and cadets. The instructors that you encounter here in the Golden Buffalo Battalion are among the best in the country, from the officers to the NCO’s. Truly, it is their passion for perfection that allows you and your fellow cadets to exceed typical expectations of a college student and arrive at excellence."

Cadet Eagle

Cadet Eagle, Alpha Company

Cadet Eagle, MS2, attends University of Colorado Boulder.

"So far my experiences with the Army have been great. Of course, it’s the Army so it’s no vacation but I feel as far as ROTC goes, the Golden Buffalo Battalion is one of the greatest. ROTC is not a place for the faint hearted, but if you want to be in the Army, this is the place to be. The expectations can be steep, but I feel they are very appropriate. The Golden Buffalo Battalion only accepts people who are truly dedicated and willing to put one hundred percent of their effort into their training because as a whole we realize the importance of being strong leaders and making those around us just as efficient. This then produces a cadet population that is motivated and talented in the disciplines of the Army. When you’re surrounded by cadets that are like that, it only serves to benefit your training and your potential to be a successful officer. I personally have gained a great deal from this program and I plan to continue on this path. Unlike many of my peers I never participated in sports in high school and was barley athletic. Now I’m in shape and am very involved. Even though ROTC involves a decent portion of my time and effort, I know it will benefit my future. I know that when I look back on my college experience ROTC and the connections I’ve made here will be the highlight."

Cadet Fass

Cadet Fass, Alpha Company

Cadet Bell, MS1, is a Biochemistry major attending University of Colorado Boulder.

"During high school I was on the varsity swim team, and I played trombone in the marching band as well as a youth orchestra. I also enjoyed playing basketball and soccer. As for extracurricular activities at CU, I am in the Color Guard, and a Cadet Bible study. I am also in the CU Chemistry Club.  

All my life I knew I wanted to be in the military, but I really did not know what path to take. The summer before my senior year of high school I was visiting CU-Boulder to see if it was the right fit for me. Before my visit, my parents suggested I check out the Army ROTC on campus, so I did. I not only found out that Boulder was the right choice for me, but the Golden Buffalo Battalion was as well.
Army ROTC provides a unique college experience that is both challenging and rewarding. One day you are going to class and the next day you are out in a field with all your gear doing awesome things like low crawling; everybody loves to low crawl. Through ROTC I have learned quite a bit about leadership, teamwork, and tactics. You learn things from performing an enemy prisoner of war search to deploying a claymore antipersonnel mine. I think that is just a bit more interesting than your average American Literature class. It has not only challenged me mentally, but physically as well. Getting up early in the morning for PT isn’t so bad, and it really is worth it. I can say that from the first time I arrived in Boulder to now, participating in ROTC has improved my physical well-being immensely.  
Now if you are reading this and thinking to yourself, “Why should I join Army ROTC?” Then let me tell you some reasons why I joined ROTC that might help you discover that it might just be the right fit for you. If you enjoy the outdoors and activities such as hiking and orienteering then ROTC has you covered. If you enjoy running and working out, ROTC is the perfect choice. If you frequently find yourself struggling to choose what to wear on Thursdays, then ROTC is the solution. If you want to better yourself as an individual morally, mentally, and physically, then ROTC is the right choice. If you find yourself striving to become a better leader, then ROTC is for you. Most importantly if you want to become an officer in the United States Army, Army ROTC is the path you should take.

Army ROTC challenges you both mentally and physically.  If you are looking for more than your regular college experience, and if you want to challenge yourself as an individual, then the Army ROTC can provide you with that challenge. There will be days where you have to go to bed earlier than usual, or let your friends go out to party without you, but it is worth it. It is worth it to challenge yourself, because the rewards are far greater than getting that extra hour of sleep, or going to that party. I   have enjoyed the time I have spent in the Buffalo Battalion and look forward to my next three years in Army ROTC."
Cadet Alvarado

Cadet Alvarado, Charlie Company

Cadet Alvarado, MS2, attends University of Denver (DU) as a Psychology major.

"A few years ago, I could have never seen myself in the military, but coming from a military family, there has always been the push to serve in any way I can. While in high school, I couldn’t ever stand being bored, and liked to keep myself busy by being very involved with varsity soccer, club soccer, the speech and debate team, and the string orchestra, while trying to balance IB classes.

After deciding to attend the University of Denver, I still felt the need to keep myself constantly busy, but I wanted to find something new and challenging outside of my normal comfort zone. I applied for an Army ROTC scholarship without being expectant since I understood the competitive nature of it. I wasn’t even sure at the time that it was completely what I wanted. But the moment I was notified I got it, I knew it was exactly what I needed.

At DU, I was involved in many activities. However, I desired even more structure and a sense of greater purpose. Army ROTC provided the perfect opportunity. ROTC, I’ve found, is an unmatched arsenal to give back and serve your country as well to improve yourself to a level above and beyond what you thought possible. Since joining the ROTC, I can see the obvious shift from my priorities and abilities of that of a normal college student where I now have a new sense of drive and motivation to excel and serve to the best of my ability in every aspect of my life, whether it be physical fitness, academics, or my personal relationships."

Cadet Anderson

Cadet Anderson, Bravo Company

Cadet Anderson, MS2, is a Business Administration major attending Colorado Christian University.

"Ever since I was young I always wanted to either play collegiate football or fight mixed martial arts full time as a professional. I had been fighting MMA since I was four and had been playing football since I was in fourth grade. As I grew older and realized that my heart and my faith were taking me a different direction; I learned I wanted to be a soldier. In high school I played football all four years, eventually making varsity captain. I also fought MMA, eventually making the fight team captain. It was at this time I learned I wanted to be a leader in a physical environment. I stilled desired to fight and play football, however, after losing a pivotal fight in my career I decided to pursue the military. It was at this time I learned I could become a soldier and be a leader through the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).

AROTC is a physical environment that emphasizes team cooperation and presents both physical and emotional demands on a person. After learning about this, I immediately knew I wanted to enjoy a college life but still be a soldier in the United States Army. Shortly after, I enrolled in Colorado Christian University and was simultaneously an Army Cadet with the Golden Buffalo Battalion. Leaving the sports I love was tough, but I’ve never been a part of an occupation and organization that I’ve loved so much as the U.S. Army, and the Golden Buffalo Battalion. Being a cadet and a soldier is very much like being a fighter or a football player. It requires personal physical demand as well as team camaraderie and leadership. Ever since becoming a cadet I’ve seen extreme growth in my leadership abilities and a way to better articulate myself and see leadership in every realm of life. Currently, I am an Army ROTC cadet in my second year of the program, majoring in Business Administration from Colorado Christian University. The opportunities are boundless and the reward is great. It’s not easy being a Cadet but it’s a great honor and extremely rewarding."

Cadet Chrichton

Cadet Crichton, Charlie Company

Cadet Crichton, MS1, attends Metro State Univ of Denver, majoring in criminal justice.

"Growing up I was always a very active kid, and enjoyed being outdoors more than anything. I played football throughout my childhood and through high school. I have always been very competitive, but I think I liked the team aspect of the sport more than anything.

I have always been extremely influenced by my father, who also served in the Army, and I remember growing up always thinking that I wanted to be exactly like him. I remember the stories he used to tell me, and about all the family traditions we had when it came to the military. It became apparent to me at a young age that I wanted to serve in the military when I grew up as well. When I turned 17, in 2010, I went and enlisted in the Army as soon I could. I enlisted in the U.S Army split option program which meant I went to basic training between junior and senior year, and then to my A.I.T after my high school graduation. My original plan was to get my basic training out of the way, start my time and grade as soon as possible, and later get a release from the reserve to go active duty. To be completely honest I never really wanted to be an officer, or even thought about being an officer until I was in basic training. I attended basic at Fort Jackson, SC in the summer of 2011. About half way through the completion of basic we had several cadets from all over the country come and help with training. This was the first time I ever had any experience with cadets, and I quickly began to see how good the cadets and officers really had it.

I returned back home after basic to finish my senior year of high school, and began applying to colleges that offered Army ROTC.  After a lot of debating I decided that I was going to attend Metro State for at least my first year of college. Coming into ROTC I never really knew what to expect because I had heard a lot of mixed reviews. Right off the bat it became clear to me that ROTC at Metro was the perfect fit for me. The program has helped me tremendously with my grades in school, and as well as adjusting to my first year of college. Between Physical Training (PT) in the morning, class, labs, and ranger challenge I have been able to gain more hands on experience then I ever would have in the reserves. I get to go to school every day and do what I love to do as well as being able to work towards my criminal justice degree full-time. Choosing to do ROTC has been one of the greatest decisions I have ever made, and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world."
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