“Do not regret what is done.” -Miyamoto Musashi
It was kind of surreal seeing this posted around campus. I mean, it feels like it was only yesterday I got the notice that I was approved to take ROTC back in Term 2 of my first year in college. And as much as I loathed waking up at 5am every Saturday to go to school, I have to admit, ROTC grew on me.
From the first training “Hell” day, I was in the Light Duties unit due to asthma. Basically, my job was to either sit around and do menial labor for the staff, or watch the cadets and cadettes train. So I said to hell with that, and volunteered myself to bring my camera every Saturday to document the training sessions.
Fast forward to Term 3, where I truly saw the mettle of the 247th Corps be tested. In preparation for the National and Local Annual General Tactical Inspections (NAGTI & LAGTI). From sun up to sun down, I had the privilege of going around the Jose Bonifacio Naval Station Parade Grounds documenting the training. From the R&A and Model rehearsals to the Medics and SPs doing their thing, I was exposed to something I don’t think CWTS can top: The fierce bond that each member of every Unit to get their batchmate through each task at hand.
We all started out as strangers. In ROTC, we were hard-pressed to find a blockmate, let alone ANY familiar face, because most of them went to CWTS. But it really astonished me how despite this, in the end, there was a fierce bond with not just every member of each platoon, but how the whole 247th Unit just opened up to each other as a whole. We went from strangers, to friends, to family. And I am thankful that I got to witness it firsthand.
I don’t have the same experience or stories the other units have had with the other Light Duties because I mostly spent my time away taking pictures, but I just want to say thank you. Thank you to the Staff (Who may not see this.), the Officers, And every single member of the 247th DLSU NROTCU for allowing me to do what I do. I joined ROTC for one reason: To continue what I’ve been doing since CAdT back in High School, I was the Corps Photographer then and thankfully I was allowed to be Corps Photographer now. I never wanted to be the Light Duty cadet who just sat around and watched, I wanted to be one of those LD cadets to, despite the condition, made himself useful. I can’t describe how much it made documentation so much lighter whenever someone in the Corps asked for a photo, or struck a pose in the middle of rehearsal just for the sake of posterity.
I want to share something my High School commandant said during our CAdT graduation last year: “Ad Astra Per Apsera: A Rough Road Leads To The Stars. Though the road may be rough, you will never travel alone.” It doesn’t matter that we didn’t win the championship in LAGTI, what matters is we’ll never travel the rough road again.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I still have “In The Navy” stuck in my head.
C./Pvt. ALPHONSO RAFAEL TAN ANDIN, LIGHT DUTIES