Senior Edesha Basa knew she wanted to go to college but the reality of not working was also clear in her mind. Living in San Francisco from paycheck to paycheck while attending a community college, Basa knew if she wanted her degree she had to make some changes.’
‘ After five and a half years of active-duty in the army, Basa transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles as a political science, Middle Eastern and North African Studies major in spring of 2006.
‘I went to the recruiting office and said I was interested in serving,’ said Basa. ‘There is a military tradition within my family, there’s a great honor is serving your country.’
Basa said her family stressed the importance of doing well in school and obtaining a college degree. When it came to higher education, there was no question that she would return after serving in the military. Upon going back she became more disciplined as a student and credits this to her experience in active duty.
Basa said there is a company at CSUN and UCLA and she is in charge of the students that go to the classes at both institutions.
The military has a program called The Green to Gold Program. It allows active duty soldiers the opportunity to leave the enlisted side, get a scholarship to go to college, go through the Army Recruit Officer Training Corps (AROTC) program and then graduate as a commissioned officer. This is the route Basa took.
One of the things she enjoys most about AROTC is the opportunity she gets to mentor cadets. Through her experience cadets trust her to give them the truth about what it is really like in active duty. Basa is currently the Cadet Battalion Cmdr. of the UCLA battalion of the AROTC.
‘I’ve always been a people person. I like interacting with people, because of the fact that I have this experience, I’ve been deployed and was on active duty, I’m able to give that experience to the cadets,’ said Basa.
Senior Derrick Bryant said he enjoys working with Basa. He acknowledged that she is tough at times but does a great job.
‘She expects us to perform as second lieutenants at our jobs. She expects us to perform like actual officers in the army,’ said Bryant.
Rosmine Patel, a second year masters student, is a squad leader in AROTC at CSUN. She said although the AROTC program is a little intimidating at first it is fun and challenging.
‘You’re not sure what to expect, you’re going into something you’ve never done before. But then it’s a lot of fun, once you start doing it it’s a lot of fun. It’s hard and challenging but it’s not impossible,’ said Patel.
Basa said she believes her relationship with the army is one of love and hate.’ Sometimes soldiers are required to do things that seem meaningless and menial. Once she was required to pick up cigarette butts around her building. That was one of those times that she had to stop and question what she was doing in the army.
‘It’s a love and hate relationship and I think any honest soldier will tell you that, anyone will tell you about the overall experience of the army. Its definitely more positive and good then bad,’ said Basa.
At the end of the day Basa said she sees the big picture in everything she does and endures is worth serving her country and it is an honor.