It can be hard deciding what to do after college, but Daniel Taylor, senior from West Springfield, Va., has it all figured out.
Taylor is a senior cadet in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at Murray State and comes from a long family line of military veterans. Both his father and older brother went to Murray State and were also a part of ROTC.
Taylor is a battalion commander and spends most of his time preparing for classes and training junior cadets.
“He has proven to have genuine care for the cadets in the program and the reputation of ROTC at Murray State,” said Paul Denson, officer in charge at Murray State. “He has vastly improved his physical fitness and continues to help others improve theirs.”
Taylor’s father was the first in his family to join ROTC at the University and continued on into the military after graduating and was a part of an artillery unit.
While Taylor’s father was in the military, his family moved numerous times and it was important to his father to keep his military life out of his family life, Taylor said.
Taylor said, however, that he wasn’t pressured into joining the military, but that it just seemed natural to join.
Taylor is pursuing a degree in architectural engineering. After graduation he hopes to become active duty and be placed somewhere he can use his architectural skills.
“One of the great things about the military is that they help you plan out your life,” Taylor said. “So when I joined I had my graduation plan completely filled out.”
However, Taylor’s motivation to join the ROTC program did not stop there. He said other than having fixed plans for graduation, there is also a job available right out of college.
“I saw a lot of opportunities with ROTC,” Taylor said. “A lot of these people after college are looking for jobs right out of school and I pretty much have one guaranteed.”
Taylor recently went to Leadership Development and Course, or LDAC, where he received the highest rating a cadet can earn and was selected as RECONDO, an award that is given to less than 5 percent of cadets.
“It’s really amazing to get to lead a platoon of 40 people through daily exercises and objectives,” Taylor said. “It really lets me test my abilities and see where I stand amongst the other cadets.”
Taylor also received a small metal coin for his accomplishments at LDAC. This is called a challenge coin and is popular among members of the U.S. Military.
“There’s always a story behind these things and hopefully I can get more of these and even more stories,” Taylor said.
The ROTC program helps students develop their skills as a leader in and outside of the military to push them to become outstanding students, according to Denson.
Cadet Taylor maintains a competitive GPA and was recently selected to attend a senior-level conference at West Point, the United States Military Academy, on April 24. Taylor was selected as one of 108 ROTC cadets from across the U.S. The conference helps further develop and inspire senior cadets before they receive their commission and become officers.
Like his father, Taylor plans to stick with the military until retirement.
Story by Brandon Cash, Staff writer