Lieutenant Colonel Sloan takes command of Army ROTC 49er Batallion

A West Point alum and family man, LTC Sloan brings a new approach to ROTC

| November 20, 2014
LTC Sloan at the men’s basketball exhibition game on Veterans Day. Photo by Chris Crews.

LTC Sloan was honored with a signed game ball at the men’s basketball exhibition game on Veterans Day. Photo by Chris Crews.

Serving his country comes naturally to U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Jared Sloan.  He comes from a military family so joining the Army felt natural to him.

“I am the son of a career Army officer,” said Sloan. “My brother’s a career Army officer. I’m the youngest in the family. I was born on a military base and have been in the army my entire life.”

His military career began when he enlisted as a private in 1989, and he has been Army Strong ever since.

Following family tradition, he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point from 1992 to 1996, according to the Army ROTC web page. Upon graduation, he commissioned as an aviation officer.

“From a very young age I knew I wanted to fly,” said Sloan. “And specifically I knew I wanted to fly helicopters. I never wanted to be a jet pilot like Air Force.”

His career has taken him to places many people can only dream of going. He has been to 49 out of 50 states, only missing Hawaii. While his family’s favorite was Orlando, where Sloan attended the University of Central Florida to obtain his Master’s degree in engineering, he preferred their time in Alaska where he attended the Northern Warfare School.

“I did a summer course a couple of years ago that was sort of wilderness survival,” he explained.  “We spent time on the rivers. We spent time on the glaciers. We did some ice climbing in the middle of the summer. We did some rock climbing. We did long boat trips up and down the rivers. It really was a great experience. I love the outdoors, I always have, so just thoroughly loved that course.”

Sloan says his time teaching at West Point was another of his favorite assignments. “It’s a beautiful place I found it much more beautiful on the faculty than I did as a cadet,” he said with a laugh.

Sloan and his family of nine have made Charlotte their home for at least the next few years.

“This is a nominated assignment for three years,” explained Sloan. “We’re very excited to sit still for three years. We’ve never done that. The longest we’ve ever done that was the tour at West Point for 33 months, my 16 year old son has lived in 12 houses, my four year old daughter has lived in six so we are excited to maybe sit still for a while.”

Teaching at West Point is much different than teaching at UNC Charlotte as West Point cadets are more academically oriented.

“West Point is a very academic institution so I think I probably bring more of an academic attitude to my teaching here,” said Sloan. “Another thing I really valued at West Point was just time spent with students. I’m much more inclined to be involved with students outside of the classroom because I recognize that officer development occurs in places other than the classroom.”

Since taking the job at UNC Charlotte with the 49er Battalion, Sloan has made some noticeable changes. ROTC cadets enjoy working with him and find him to be a great asset to the program.

“Colonel Sloan has done a very good job of empowering cadets to think about issues the way they would tackle them as an Army officer,” said Davidson senior James Atkins, XO of the 49er Battalion.

Cadets have more power in the decision making this year and are expected to do more. In previous years, a cadet’s fourth year was the easy year of their education where they are just waiting to hear if they will be placed on active duty or a national guard slot, but they have already put in all of the work they need to, explained another cadet.

This year, the fourth year cadets are given more responsibility and are held to a higher standard.

Sloan wanted to bring more energy back to the 49er Battalion.

“One of the things that I’ve heard about ROTC programs in general is that they can tend to stagnate,” he said.

He has never been involved in an ROTC program before so he is, “not hindered by any mental model of ROTC because I have never been in ROTC. I don’t know what’s always been done so let’s do something different.”

Furthermore, the Army is changing. Some cadets are worried about the talk of downsizing and how that will affect their future careers.

However, Sloan has discovered that a change in focus is needed and is bringing that to the table here at UNC Charlotte in order to ease fears and better prepare cadets for their officer careers.

“Sloan has taken the program in a more modern direction, taking into account how the Army is changing,” said Davidson senior David Diaz. “He’s more pragmatic and teaches us things we can really use.”

Both Atkins and Diaz are up for commission this year and are happy with the impact Sloan’s leadership has had on them. They feel he has further prepared them for how to handle the challenges that inevitably lie ahead.

Sloan says he wants cadets to understand that leadership is a personal business. “Soldiers will never worry about how much you know, they’ll worry about how much do you care about them. Leadership isn’t born, leadership is learned, and it’s fundamentally about people,” he said.

Since arriving on campus, he has been involved in many aspects of campus life.

Back in September, he ran a week long boot camp for the basketball team where the team underwent rigorous army style training in preparation for their upcoming season.

“I think they’re going to be very surprised,” said Sloan.

The whole operation was kept under wraps until Sloan waltzed into one of their early morning workouts ready to put them to work.

While Sloan’s shaved head, impeccable posture and muscular build all peg him as Army guy at first sight, his serious nature does not indicate he is all work and no play. He still enjoys spending time with his family and letting loose every once in a while.

He is married and has seven children and spends all of his free time doing activities with them.

“I’m the father of seven, I don’t have free time. My kids do all kinds of events, we go camping, rock climbing…we do all kinds of stuff. We can do anything. As long as we’re together it’s all good.”

His family keeps him motivated to work hard and be a father and husband that they can be proud of. They also provide a strong foundation and backbone of support that is crucial for anyone pursuing a career in the military. It isn’t easy, but having a strong family dynamic makes it easier.

After his three year tour at UNC Charlotte is over, their next assignment is up in the air, but his family is nothing but supportive and excited to see where their journey takes them next.

“Life in the Army is a family event, everybody has to be all in. Your spouse has to be on board, and your kids have to have interest in it,” he said. “Army life is a great experience. I’d never discourage anyone from just trying it out and seeing what it’s like and getting involved. Over the past 25 years I have no regrets.”

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Category:Campus, News

Michelle Liringis is the Lifestyle Editor for the 2013-2014 year. She is an English major with a journalism minor and has been working with the Niner Times since her freshman year.

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Michelle Liringis is the Lifestyle Editor for the 2013-2014 year. She is an English major with a journalism minor and has been working with the Niner Times since her freshman year.