Sophomore Aaron Nightinggale does not have the option to enjoy his college years in the same way others do, but it was his own choice.
Nightinggale is a U.S. Marine. He decided to enlist after high school instead of doing the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at Miami. The only real difference is that Nightinggale is fully trained and ready for duty, whereas ROTC students are not. The downside for Nightinggale is at any moment the Marines can call and ship him off to war.
Despite the fact he could be sent overseas at any point during his college career, Nightinggale is excited to be a part of the U.S. military.
“You make some of the best friends you’ll ever make in your life,” Nightinggale said.
Nightinggale spends one weekend per month training in Cincinnati with his unit. For the other weekends, Nightinggale avoids drugs and alcohol. The U.S. Marines don’t accept drinking or drug use because it’s a job, but that doesn’t mean Nightinggale can’t have fun.
“The party life is still there,” Nightinggale said. “We basically just have to make sure we’re responsible about it.”
Senior Ryan Wolfarth understands Nightinggale’s situation. As a U.S. National Guard member, Wolfarth spends one weekend a month working as a jet engine mechanic with the rest of his unit in Springfield, Ohio.
Wolfarth, like Nightinggale, could be sent to war at any time. Wolfarth said he isn’t nervous.
“Unless the shit really hits the fan … I will be with the jets,” Wolfarth said.
He said the jets are kept far away from combat.
Wolfarth said being a part of the Air Force National Guard has made him a very responsible individual.
“It’s definitely a different crowd you run with,” Wolfarth said. “You can’t go out and party like crazy all the time.”
Nightinggale and Wolfarth both said their units aren’t doing anything in particular for Veteran’s Day, but there usually are dinners for the veterans.
The Miami ROTC Marine Corps will be doing something for Veteran’s Day, according to sophomore Andrew Henninger.
Henninger said the ROTC Marines would be celebrating the Marine Corps birthday Nov. 10 by running 235 miles for the Marines’ 235th year. The 235 miles will be divided up equally amongst everyone in the Marine platoon, each person running approximately nine miles each around Miami’s campus.