Why serve...Let's talk about education

ROTC...it is not for everyone, but it was good for me (maybe you too).  So I told you that I was about to loose my academic scholarship, and it was because my GPA was supposed to stay above 3.0.  I only blame myself for the loss of my scholarship, but many people helped me to get back on track.  

In the second semester of my sophomore year I starting looking for a way to fund college, and the local ROTC Battalion was one option.  There are several ways to get a ROTC scholarship, and if you have the choice I suggest you choose a different way than I did, but if you don't my way works too.  The first way that you can start ROTC is as a Freshman.  You apply for a scholarship, get accepted to the college/university, win the scholarship and enjoy an easy "A" and four years of leadership lab.  The second way is to enlist in the military (National Guard or Reserves), go to basic training, and then you will be eligible for a 2 year scholarship (not guaranteed, but eligible), if you meet the minimum requirements for officer fitness and minimum test scores.

There are three types of scholarships available from Army ROTC:  Active Duty, Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD), and Dedicated National Guard.  If you want to serve your entire commitment (8 years) in the Reserves or National Guard the you need one of the latter two types.  With the GRFD you may decide to go Active Duty if you choose, but you have the option of commissioning in the National Guard or Reserves.  More details may be found at https://www.goarmy.com/rotc/scholarships.html or ask a question in the comments.

I had a Dedicated Guard scholarship that I won from what is now know as the "Leadership Training Course." (for more on Leader Training Course:  https://www.goarmy.com/rotc/courses-and-colleges/curriculum/cadet-initial-entry-training.htmlI joined the National Guard, a Mechanized Infantry unit, and ROTC at the same time in what is called the Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP).  I had to attend drill one weekend a month and complete the two weeks annual training (if it did not interfere with ROTC commitments).  As an SMP cadet your first responsibility is to ROTC and graduating college so that you can become an Officer.

During my time in the National Guard I earned additional scholarships from the National Guard Association, and learned about other Guard units in the state.  When I learned about an Army Aviation unit I applied for a pilot position (another post will discuss this process) and since I was dedicated Guard I commissioned as an Aviation Officer.  The Reserve or National Guard unit that accepts you determines the branch/military speciality that you will commission into.  If you are not GRFD or Dedicated Guard then you must compete with all other ROTC and Service Academy cadets for branch vacancies.  

During my time in ROTC I completed the Airborne (Ft. Benning) and Air Assault (Ft. Campbell) schools, earning Airborne and Air Assault wings.  I had many opportunities from ROTC and highly recommend this path if you are looking for college money and want to serve your country.

Please share your experiences or ask questions in the comments.


Good Leadership Reads...

The US Military is know for its leadership development.  Experienced NCO's and Officers are highly sought after by corporations and government entities because of their military training and values.  Something that I have often heard in leadership course is "Leaders are Readers."  I found this to be very true, and if you are relaxing this weekend or looking for some productive recreation I recommend one of the following books (by leadership level...CGO, FGO, Exec):

CGO:   The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right...this book provides practical self-leadership tools that help establish creditability by ensuring things are done right the first time.

FGO:  Leaders Who Last....In the age of social media, crisis of character is devastating for a leader and their organization.  What is the difference between a quick burn and a sustained flame?

Exec:  Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win...Senior leaders must own it.  Lessons from Navy SEALs and the private sector application in this book provide insights for leaders to reflect and take action.

For leisure try:  The Lieutenants: Brotherhood of War or for you Jarhead's... Semper Fi (The Corps, Book 1)

Please recommend other good reads in the comments.

Why serve?

Halfway through my sophomore year in college, "my plan" was unraveling due to Calculus.  Not only Calculus, but Calc II, Calc III, and Differential Equations all required multiple attempts to pass.  You may say "at least you stuck with it and pushed through," but in reality my multiple attempts lowered my GPA each time I took a Calculus course.  I was on a full academic scholarship that I knew was going to be taken away at the end the Spring Semester.

There are many reasons that I decide to join the US Military almost two decades ago, but at 19 the most pressing reason was to pay for college.

I joined the National Guard (a Mechanized Infantry unit) and earned (I will talk about earning a ROTC scholarship later) an ROTC scholarship.  Starting my Junior year, I was a full scholarship cadet (this particular college awards room & board to ROTC scholarship recipients) and the newest Airborne qualified student at a high cost private college.  Two years later I commissioned as an Army Aviation Officer and graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry.

God, GRIT, Guidance, and Guts were responsible for putting me back on track to complete my college degree without debt.  Over the next week I will deep-dive into some of the details of my experiences as I transitioned from a near college dropout to an Army Aviation 2LT and a degreed Chemist.  Please share your college (or Military funded education) in the comments.

Dr. PS 

Welcome to Warrior Rate

Military members and civilians are concerned with topics that effect US Military Service Members.  This blog is a forum for these topics.  Some of the topics that you will read about, and the I hope you comment on, are:  GI Bill, Tricare/TRS, Military schools, AFSC/MOS/Rates, Military Discounts, Education, Job Search, Transitions between Civilian and Military life or vise versa, and other life hacks.  Please Comment and share these blog posts with your friends, and place discussion topic requests in the comments.