Vermillion native new ROTC head at SDSU John Holter, the new professor of military science, doesn't have to worry about getting the Army ROTC program here in high gear.
He just has to worry about making sure it doesn't lose steam.
"As we grow, we have to make sure we're able to keep up with the growth in the program," says Holter, who, with a staff of two officers, two noncommissioned officers, and two civilian employees, directs classes and activities for 250 cadets this fall semester.
Holter began this job June 1, replacing Col. Keith Corbett, who had held the post for three years.
Enrollment boomed during Corbett's tenure. In fall 2001, there were 236 students taking classes. That compares with 164 in 2000 and 85 in 1999. Students can take tuition-free military science classes for two years, gain credits in social science, and have no obligation.
Scholarship students and those going beyond two years are required to make a service commitment.
The swell of students is at the freshman and sophomore levels, where students gain an understanding of the military. With about 220 students enrolled in those classes, Sgt. First Class Russ Chavez and Master Sgt. Tom Carpenter are challenged to keep up with the teaching demands.
But Holter is pleased with the quality of 27 cadets at the junior and senior level.
The primary purpose of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps is to produce second lieutenants for America's military.
"At SDSU, that challenge is eased by the fact there is a good track record and good people around here," Holter says.
The Army ROTC program at SDSU ranks in the upper 15 percent nationally, based on participation and achievement.
Holter, a Vermillion native, has also found that the program is highly valued by other academic departments on campus.
"The support for ROTC on this campus is amazing. People really welcomed me with open arms. I feel I am really coming into a good situation here because of the support for the program," the 38-year-old National Guardsman declares.
Holter, a major in the U.S. Army, comes here from Sioux Falls, where he was a full-time Guard employee.
As executive officer of the First Battalion of the 147th Field Artillery, Holter served as the second in command of the battalion and head of the full-time support staff for the battalion. He has served in the Guards since 1994 and has been fulltime with the 147th in Sioux Falls since 1996.
He began his military career with ROTC in 1986 at The University of South Dakota, where he received a bachelor's degree in business. In 1990, Holter earned a master's of business administration degree from Oklahoma City University.
His career also includes a brief stop in the Denver financial world in the early 1990s.
Holter is married to the former Traci Treseder, a Brookings native.