Company mentor procures boats to  ensure injured rooks don’t miss pinnacle orientation week experience

As any Norwich University student or alum knows, the Dog River Run since 1973 has let Corps of Cadets’ first-years cap Rook Orientation Week, collect souvenir stones and splash toward the future. Corps of Cadets Company Mentor Kevin Devine remembered how some rooks missed the moment last year because of leg injuries and saw to it that they wouldn’t Sunday.

Making literal the “we’re all in the same boat” catchphrase, Devine secured three Zodiacs — inflatable rubber craft — to ferry two injured women and four injured men. (Some of the rooks arrived on campus injured; some were injured during field training.)

Devine said Zodiacs, which are designed for punishing military tasks, were better than the canoes he’d planned to use, and on Sunday accommodated two rooks each. Uninjured rooks fireman-carried their injured rook siblings to the run’s starting point, loaded them into the boats and paddled downriver. In the shallows, the injured rooks leaned into the water to snatch stones.

Devine credited his student leaders, Cadet Capt. James Botelho, Cadet 1st Lt. Michael Norton, Cadet 1st Sgt. Jacie Harlow and Cadet 2nd Lt. Jacob Duncan for telling about the Zodiacs and directing their voyages.

“They are phenomenal student leaders who are doing an outstanding job taking care of rooks,” Devine wrote in an  email. “I couldn’t ask for better young leaders than them. They genuinely care about the future leaders and successes of these students.”

Devine, a Norwich senior military science professor from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, has served as a Corps company mentor since 2019. He came to the university after serving as an operations sergeant major at the U.S. Army’s base in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

In the leave-no-soldier-airman-sailor behind spirit, Devine wanted all rooks to feel the run’s motivation and elation.

“Last year, I felt bad for the kids that couldn’t go through because I’ve seen how everybody was once they came out of the Dog River,” Devine said in an interview. “So, I was like, never again, not happening. I’m getting boats for these guys and everybody’s doing everything together.”

(Slideshow photos by Mark Collier/Norwich University.)




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