Military robots logical fit for science, technology, engineering and math students
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 2:01 pm

To the Editor

This letter is in response to “Military robots in school sets bad example for Canton students” published on NorthCountryNow.com on January 30th.

On the Morning of January 18th, I had the honor to return to Canton High School in uniform to share my experiences as a Clarkson University Army ROTC cadet. During this time, I was asked to discuss respect; a value essential to achieving success both in the armed forces and as a civilian. The Army defines respect as “show(ing) concern for and make(ing) an effort to check on the safety and well-being of others.” The honorable men and women of the 760th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company do this every day; using technology to safely identify and destroy hazards on the battlefield.

During my talk, students were never told or given the idea that bomb disposal is glamorous or easy. Moreover, the students who questioned the nature of the job were informed of the many dangers and difficulties.

Arguing that a robot constructed for remote operation that withstands explosions and transports explosive material contains no merit to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields of study is fundamentally false. Producing these robots requires expertise in all of these areas; furthermore, the soldiers operating them possess a unique, technical, skillset. The EOD team also has a peacetime mission when called upon to deal with hazards in the civilian world.

My greatest concern with this letter is the negative stigma about the armed forces; the attitude that “our children are too good for the military.” The military is not for everyone, in my case it was a perfect fit. Our society must remain cognizant of the message sent to those in uniform and our veterans by this negative attitude; the opposite of supporting our troops.

Matthew Flynn II, Clarkson University Army ROTC Cadet, Canton