With apprehensio…

With apprehension, I approached the top floor of the Armory building; there I was to meet with a couple members of the officers crew in the University’s Army ROTC unit.
I was new to The Minnesota Daily staff last September and this was the first big story I had to cover.
But I was welcomed warmly by everyone — Lt. Col. John Oravis, Lt. Ryan Gustafson, Cadet Tim Crowe and Cadet Majors Shane Morris and Patrick Zenk among others, helped me through a gauntlet of training exercises during my two-day stay at the Camp Ripley facility near Brainerd.
When I look back now, there are a dozen different ways I wish I had written that story. But even so, it was a weekend full of events I won’t forget.
How could I forget Crowe, who accompanied me to the middle of the woods armed with only a compass and a map. He said he knew what he was doing — and eventually he proved himself correct. But I had to wonder as we went back to the starting point after a fruitless half-hour of searching for the first point marker on an orienteering course.
Or Zenk, who patiently endured a training session during which I had my first experience with an M-16 rifle. His patience was rewarded in the end when I actually hit the target during firing practice five out of 10 times.
I was upstaged, however, by staff photographer Kenei Sato. The Daily nearly lost him to the Army after he successfully nailed the bull’s-eye nine of 10 times. He had never fired a rifle before either — he was armed only with the experience of being a photographer. I guess it trains the eye.
Then there was the moment on the bus where everyone gathered around to see how I was enjoying my first experience with ROTC.
Many of the troops got a kick when I wondered how I was going to eat the styrofoam fruit. Little did I know that a few drops of water would turn it into a package of juicy treats. The chow mein given to me in the meal wasn’t half bad. I still wonder why soldiers complain about their food.
That first big experience with the Daily really drove home why I love this job. As a reporter, I get to cover events and people most others never get to see. I live experiences that some people only get to watch from the television in their living room.
Ever since I began writing for a newspaper, I have been able to experience time and time again things I never imagined I would get an opportunity to try.