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Speed on rock wall leads to military: Kluever sacrifices free time for ROTC, National Guard
Keristiena Shenouda
JMC 315
Photo by Keristiena Shenouda
After the instructor demonstrates various fighting techniques in the ROTC combatant class, Stacia Kluever passionately fights and wins two battles.

After the instructor demonstrates various fighting techniques in the ROTC combatant class, Stacia Kluever fights passionately and wins two battles. She likes to push herself physically and mentally, part of each day of ROTC training.

Stacia Kluever is a 19-year-old freshman at UNK who grew up in Iowa with the dream of becoming a doctor. Aware of the fact that she needed financial assistance to go to medical school and to avoid ending up with a tremendous debt, Kluever decided to join the military.

The ROTC program gave her the opportunity to fulfill her dream by providing a full scholarship. But for Kluever joining the military means more: “It is a sense of pride,” she said. “You are helping protect the country.”
Kluever was recruited when she was a senior in high school. The National Guard placed climbing walls in her high school in Union, Iowa, as part of its recruiting program. Fond of rock climbing, Kluever was the best of the girls and even did better than most of the boys. “Of course guys don’t like to be embarrassed that way when it comes to athletic things,” she said.  

There are negative sides to her life as an officer in training. Her days start at 5 a.m., and she has a tight and full schedule. Although she sometimes wishes to, she cannot stay up late and go out like other college students.  
Kluever just cannot  live the “normal” college life. The training she receives is both physically and mentally demanding.  She says, “They really push you to the extreme of your limits and then even further. It happened multiple times that I came back home and started crying. It is honestly not easy.”

But whenever this happens, she finds comfort in her faith and the support of her family and friends.

Kluever supports the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. She trusts that the president would not send the troops into a war not worth fighting.

Whether military personnel agree with the reasons of a war or not, however, is irrelevant for Kluever: “I may not support the views of the Commander in Chief, but I will do what I am told, because that is my job. My concern in the future will be taking care of the soldiers that are wounded and that are under my care, and to do the best job possible to ensure that they stay alive and can go back to their families.”

Kluever is already sworn in, which means that four years from now she will be commissioned as a first lieutenant and attached to a Guard unit. “It is a crossing point. There is no turning back after you are sworn in, but I am looking forward to the future,” she said.

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