In America, people can join many different teams ranging from academia to sports.
For senior Austin Day, he is a part of a completely different type of team.
On July 22, 2015, Day enlisted in the Army National Guard, where he served as a Private First Class.
In July 2016, he contracted into the Army ROTC, where he is now a cadet.
“I joined the military because this will be a great replacement for football,” Day said. “I’m now a part of another team, and it turns out to be one of the strongest teams in the world.”
Army ROTC is a college elective that trains cadets in leadership skills so they can be an officer in the Army, Army National Guard or the Army Reserves.
Day said he has two years left in his training and will be commissioned as an Active Army Officer or as an officer in the Army National Guard at the end.
When Day is not completing ROTC duties—like his favorite, firing range practice—members of the Franklin College community can find him studying for business marketing and management, computer science or military science.
He can also be found leading the Franklin Grizzlies at Faught Stadium as a captain of the football team, a member of the men’s choir and a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee.
“The schedule I have with having some kind of training with ROTC every day of the week, being a captain on the football team, and staying on top of my grades has been a challenge,” he said. “But, I have always liked a challenge because I know it will help me grow as a person.”
Day took a semester off to complete the mandated Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training last year.
He said this period of time really changed his focus about his education.
“Once I came back to school, the big thing I realized was that I now had a greater appreciation for education,” Day said. “From training with people from all over the country and some from different countries, it showed me that not everyone has the opportunities as other, so when you have an opportunity you need to take advantage of it.”
With the college community by his side, Day said the transition between student to soldier has not been hard.
The football team even had a “tribute to service” themed game—something he hopes will become a tradition for the Franklin College football team.
Day also said his education and extracurricular activities have helped in his military training.
He graduated with honors from multiple training cycles—something he attributes to football.
“Football has helped me in transitioning to a soldier,” Day said. “Coach [Mike] Leonard and the coaching staff at Franklin teach you not only how to be great players on the field, but they teach you how to be a man and install critical character values in our team that has helped me thrive in the military.”
Day said he wants to stay in active service after he graduates.
He wants to be an officer in the Army National Guard, while he pursues a civilian career in either marketing, logistics or information technology.