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.