Lyon College’s Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) detachment, the Fighting Scots, will celebrate a significant milestone during the College’s ROTC commissioning ceremony on Friday, May 12. The program will graduate its sixth student, Hot Springs native Christopher Tackett, who shared his experiences and reflections on the journey he underwent.
An affiliate of the Arkansas State University ROTC program, the Lyon College ROTC program is dedicated to developing quality leaders for the United States Army.
Tackett, who is slated to graduate from Lyon College on Saturday, May 13, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a minor in Military Science, spent his college career dedicating a large portion of his time to the Fighting Scots detachment.
“I have been in the program on a 3-year scholarship, beginning my sophomore year,” said Tackett.
Throughout his time as a Fighting Scot, Tackett saw himself grow as a leader and as a person. The military standard that he had to carry out in his everyday college life was something that he found unique and special.
“The journey through the program has been different, specifically during COVID,” said Tackett.
Tackett’s most recent position had him serving as the Assistant Training Officer for Arkansas State University’s Red Wolf Battalion which requires Tackett to, “help plan training events from the company level down.”
“It’s just different, and something people have to experience for themselves to understand. But I couldn’t recommend it more,” said Tackett. “My favorite part has been the people I’ve been able to work with. I have a lifelong connection to people in both Active Duty and the National Guard, and I would not have grown as much without them and our course with our instructor’s guidance.”
Tackett has also served as Platoon Sergeant and Platoon Leader for the Fighting Scots, giving him crucial experience in leadership and service. But, as Tackett puts it, he’s, “honestly at a fork in the road.”
“On one hand, I have a prestigious degree that would most definitely allow me to work in the finance sector with a lot of references and capabilities for any job that I would want,” said Tackett. “On the other hand, I want to be on the frontlines of helping people and being a firsthand difference in my community.”
While his plans may still be up in the air, one thing Tackett doesn’t lack is the confidence to keep moving forward.
“I think that Lyon and its ROTC program have prepared me very well for my future,” said Tackett. “No matter what I do, I now know I have the discipline and ability to succeed in any career I choose.”
A sentiment shared by one of Tackett's peers in the program, junior Briana Huff.
“When asked what I have gained from being in the programs I sometimes don’t know what to say, but now I know the answer to that question,” said Huff, a junior Exercise Science major who is going on her fourth year as a Fighting Scot. “I have learned how to become a leader, more disciplined, and how to apply the Army values to everyday life.”
Huff, who serves as the Platoon Leader position for the Fighting Scots, said the program pushed her to be more outgoing and outspoken. She, like Tackett, also credited Jerry Bowling, Assistant Professor of Military Science, for giving the program the life it needs.
“Mr. Bowling has given the program life,” said Huff. “What I mean by that is, he has gone above and beyond to make sure Lyon ROTC is not forgotten.”
“His ability to know how to mold and motivate people is something beyond description,” said Tackett. “He is one of the most wise men that I will ever come across, and I don’t plan on our mentor/mentee relationship coming to a close after I depart from Lyon.”
He continued, “I wasn’t half the man I was when I met Jerry Bowling, and he was definitely hard on me. But I needed it. He has taught me how to conduct myself in a professional manner in the Army and civilian world, and many more lessons outside of that. My piece of advice to anyone that wants to genuinely improve themselves, would be to go talk to Jerry Bowling and at least try the program out for a little while.”