Nothing less than “Leadership Excellence” is expected of ROTC Cadets as they train to undertake the responsibility of becoming a U.S. Army Officer.
For Cadet Esther Njoki, from Truman State University, leadership is a familiar concept, with Army ROTC being only one of various leadership roles that she assumes.
“I’m originally from Kenya and this is my ninth year in America,” said Njoki. “I’m a biology pre-med and I’m a codirector of an orphanage back in Uganda.”
Cadet Esther Njoki, from Truman State University, waiting for her turn to group and zero her weapons system at Fort Knox, Ky., July 11, 2022. Cadet Esther Njoki successfully zeroed her weapon. | Photo by Julia Galli, CST Public Affairs
The orphanage, located in Kirembe, Uganda, supports 200 children, providing them with food and education.
“It’s not just an orphanage for children who don’t have parents,” said Njoki.
Rather, anybody who needs help establishing their financial situation is welcome to stay.
With this responsibility already on her plate, Njoki made the decision to join ROTC in order to gain confidence and become more adaptable.
“I wanted to join ROTC because I knew the military will help me push me out of my comfort zone,” she stated.
Njoki emphasized the importance of leading with humility, especially in an environment with such a diverse range of personalities and backgrounds.
Cadet Esther Njoki looking down range at her intended target at Fort Knox, Ky., July 11, 2022. Cadet Esther Njoki successfully zeroed her weapon. | Photo by Julia Galli, CST Public Affairs Office
According to Cadet Elizabeth Hagman, from University of California, Los Angeles, Njoki’s efforts are not going unnoticed.
“It’s crazy how motivating she is,” said Hagman. “Even when we have to wake up super early. She has a smile on her face and she’s like, get up everyone. It’s going to be a great day.”
In addition to motivating everyone in her platoon, Hagman speaks of the welcoming environment Njoki created on 8th Regiment, Advanced Camp’s, first night at Cadet Summer Training.
“I came in very confused and lost, my first military experience in my life,” said Hagman. “It was late at night, I know she should have been sleeping, but she stayed up to help welcome everyone in.”
According to Hagman, this act is just one example of Njoki’s kindness and warm spirit.
“She just has so much compassion for everyone around her. She is going to see that you’re struggling and do her her best to help you.”
With such high praise from her fellow Cadet, it is clear that Njoki is already an excellent leader.
Cadet Esther Njoki assessing her target after a round of shooting at Fort Knox, Ky., July 11, 2022. Cadet Esther Njoki successfully zeroed her weapon. | Photo by Julia Galli, CST Public Affairs Office