Christopher Angleton of Alton with his mother and father at his graduation from basic training this summer at Fort Benning in Georgia.
While most young men his age were spending time with friends this past summer, Christopher Angleton of Alton took a more challenging path.
Angleton, 17, a senior at Marquette Catholic High School, spent this past summer at Fort Benning in Georgia completing a 12-week physical fitness basic training program with the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program.
Angleton is a member of the Simultaneous Membership Program, which includes participation in ROTC as well as membership in the Illinois National Guard. Typical ROTC training involves basic training as well as advanced individual training, both usually completed after high school graduation. Angleton chose to complete his basic training this past summer after his junior year in high school. He says the experience was very rewarding.
He explains the training was focused on physical conditioning and got him in the best shape of his life. He says when working out in the Georgia heat, he was equipped with 25 pounds of body armor, a 40-pound backpack and a 10-pound weapon. He recalls that when a fellow soldier sprained his ankle, he had to carry that soldier’s equipment in addition to his own for more than a mile.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically in my life,” he says.
The training was an experience most young men would be challenged to complete. Most of the other trainees were older than him and he spoke to his parents only twice during his entire time there. His only other communication with them during the summer-long program was written letters. He does note the experience conditioned him well for his participation on the high school football team and he notices a difference in his performance this year. Angleton also plays on Marquette’s baseball team.
Angleton will enter Southern Illinois University Edwardsville next year, majoring in industrial engineering. The ROTC program will continue through college and when he graduates, he will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. He notes some of the advantages of the program, in addition to the training and the opportunity to serve his country, are a full college scholarship as well as the money he earns from his service.
The Angleton family has a long history of service to our country. Angleton’s father, Darrell, went to the University of Missouri in Rolla on a four-year ROTC scholarship. He was commissioned in 1986 and retired this past June as a lieutenant colonel.
He was the dean of faculty for the Command and General College Battalion and his career took him to Honduras, Germany and the Ukraine. He met his wife, Christopher’s mother, while they were both stationed at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas.
Christopher’s grandfather served in the military for 38 years and Christopher’s younger brother Andrew is also planning on a military career. The Angletons all agree that military experience is of great benefit in civilian life.
“It teaches you to be a leader,” Darrell says.
In times when some question the values and dedication of younger people, there are individuals making a real commitment to duty and service. Christopher Angleton has started early down the path of continuing his family’s long heritage of service and leadership.