Local ROTC program ending

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Justin Jones

MARTIN, Tenn. - The Army is closing 13 Reserve Officers Training Corps, also known as ROTC programs, across the country.

This week, ROTC leaders and cadets at the University of Tennessee-Martin learned they are on the chopping block.

ROTC leadership got the news this week, the program at UT-Martin, which started in the sixties, will end in May of 2015. Students were shocked, to say the least.

Pictures portray the intense physical training young cadets must endure.

"I'm required to come to P.T. every morning, Monday through Thursday 6:30, every morning,"  Graves County Freshman Hunter Goree said.

He's a four year scholarship recipient.  He says he quickly mastered the art of overcoming obstacles, but this latest hurdle was unexpected and unavoidable.

"I've loved U.T. Martin," Goree said.

Sadly, his first year here will be his last, and he's not alone.

"If they want to continue to pursue the goal of becoming an army officer, they're going to have to do that at another university that offers an ROTC Program" Lieutenant Colonel Michael Johnson said.

He fears there's no fighting the Army's decision to close the ROTC in May of 2015. So now he's focused on helping underclassman find new schools.

"I wanted to make sure all the cadets were informed," Johnson said.

"I'm probably going to end up going back home to Kentucky," Goree said.

An Army spokesperson said at each school, the army examined enrollment trends, market potential, and the number of new cadets commissioned each year.

UT-Martin plans on appealing the Army's decision.

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