PRAISES SPIRIT OF R. O. T. C.
CAPTAIN SHANNON SAYS RESERVE UNIT WILL DEVELOP GOOD OFFICERS.
Captain James A. Shannon, captain of cavalry, United States Army, who has just reported here for duty in connection with the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, in an interview yesterday with a CRIMSON reporter, spoke with much enthusiasm of the spirit and organization of the University unit. Captain Shannon did not arrive in Cambridge until late Friday afternoon, so he has not had an opportunity to review any of the companies, but he has noticed the zeal and interest with which the student body is carrying forward its military preparations, and he is much impressed by it.
In answer to a question as to the relative value of men trained for officers under the system of the R. O. T. C. and under the system at West Point, Captain Shannon answered that there was no reason why the method here should not develop some officers fully as capable as the best graduated from West Point. "What an officer needs," he said, "is not necessarily so much book learning, but a training that makes immediate and unquestioning obedience second nature to him. A man so trained will usually make a good leader and officer. At West Point the idea of obedience, control and discipline is so drilled into the cadets that it becomes a part of their nature.
"No complete and final arrangements have as yet been given out by the War Department in regard to the appointment, on a large scale, of officers in the Reserve Corps. It is probable, however, that a plan somewhat similar to that in vogue in England may be adopted. There all aspirants for commissions are given, for a period of three months, the same drill that is given to the enlisted recruits, and then those who demonstrate that they will make good officers, are sent to a cadet school for six or seven months of intensive training. Men who have completed the course in these cadet schools are put in command of reserve troops in England for a short period before being sent to the front."
No Cavalry Unit Planned.
Captain Shannon also stated that he knew of no plans for the establishment of a cavalry unit here. "There are very considerable obstacles in the way of organizing such a unit. Besides getting the appropriations from the Government for the purchase and maintenance of horses, stables, etc., I know of no suitable grounds on which to drill. I do not believe that Soldiers Field could be utilized for cavalry drill because the horses would soon cut the ground to pieces."
Served in Mexico With Pershing.
Since graduation from West Point in 1903, Captain Shannon has seen about as much active service as any officer in the Army. He has served in the Philippines, and was in Mexico with the first troops and out with the last. As captain in the 11th Cavalry he formed part of Pershing's expeditionary force which went into Mexico after Villa. He was also in the engagement at Ojos Azules (Blue Springs), where the hottest fighting of the expedition took place.