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Friday, June 14
The Indiana Daily Student

Cadet named battalion leader

CAROUSELcaCadet

Four years ago, Angela Bowman was the freshman who sat in the back of the classroom and didn’t talk to anyone.

Today, she is the battalion leader of 130 IU Army Recruiting Officers’ Training Corps cadets.

IU ROTC’s primary purpose is to teach leadership and train cadets to become United States Army commissioned officers when they graduate, but joining doesn’t necessarily mean enlistment in the army.

Every semester, IU ROTC selects a different battalion commander to lead the cadets
in training.

Bowman, 25, said she never imagined being chosen.

“I definitely didn’t put in for battalion commander,” Bowman said. “Typically the cadet battalion commander is very outgoing.”

Born in San Francisco, Bowman spent most of her life growing up in Indianapolis in a family with a strong military background.

Both Bowman’s parents served in the army. It’s how they met.

“You see all the commercials of soldiers in helicopters helping people in distress in,
you know, a flood or something like that and here comes the National Guard flying in to rescue people off the roof,” Bowman said. “My mom definitely helped steer me in that direction, but when I saw that I was like, ‘Yeah, this is exactly what I want to do.’”

After graduating from high school in 2007, Bowman worked her first and last civilian job as an aircraft off-loader before applying to study at IU-Purdue University Indianapolis.

She worked closely with the very crafts she hoped to someday pilot.
Bowman joined the Army National Guard the following year, and shortly thereafter enrolled at IUPUI.

But she soon transferred to IU-Bloomington, drawn by an outdoors program.

“One of the reasons why I did transfer over here is because of the IU Outdoor Adventures program,” Bowman said. “I could get credit for classes like Search and Rescue and Wilderness First Responders, stuff like that.”

Spencer Tigges, IU ROTC senior recruiting cadet, met Bowman at a fall retreat during freshman welcome week in 2010.

IU ROTC sponsored a campground retreat for the cadets to get to know each other at Bradford Woods.

Tigges said everyone split off into groups. Bowman was in his group. She was quiet.

The retreat leader started conversations with the group, asking personal questions, like what their biggest fears were.

Everyone gave typical answers, Tigges said, but Bowman said only one word — “failing.”

“This is an individual who’s going to do whatever they can to become an army officer,” Tigges said.

Twenty-five cadets joined IU ROTC that year. Today, only 12 of the 25 remain, including Tigges and Bowman.

“Now we’re here as seniors, months away from commissioning,” Tigges said.

“Bowman, she’s definitely come out of her shell. Each year you get a little bit closer to your classmates.”

Garrett Guinivan, IU ROTC cadet executive director, has known her for two years.
“Even last year, she was much more introverted,” Guinivan said. “She was very closed off.”

Since being selected to be the spring 2014 cadet battalion commander, Bowman has been talking a lot more and letting the other cadets see more of her personality, Guinivan said.

Every week, they learn something new about her.

In her office, she arranged a collage of pictures of her colleagues.

During some strategy training, Guinivan said he was trying to plot geographical points and wished he had some way to put it all on a bigger scale.

He said Bowman knew right away how to do it.

Bowman is double majoring in criminal justice and geography, but she said her primary interest is geography.

Criminal justice is just something she “tacked on” because of her background in the National Guard military police, her military occupational specialty.

As a cadet, Bowman works in an aviation unit in charge of refuelers.

She flies around in Blackhawk helicopters every month but has yet to go to flight school.

Whenever the other cadets get a chance to fly on a Blackhawk, they’re like “kids on Christmas day,” Tigges said, and Bowman is the only one who is calm and reserved.

This May, Bowman will graduate.

The following day, she will become a commissioned officer and serve her next four years on active duty.

She knows she’ll be training at the Army Logistics University in Fort Lee, Va., but does not know where in the world she will be sent after that.

“I think Bowman, more than anyone in the battalion, is capable of doing whatever she wants,” Tigges said. “If I see later in the future she’s become a pilot, I wouldn’t be
surprised.”

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