Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps
|Branch||United States Army|
|Garrison/HQ||Fort Knox, Kentucky|
The Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC, AROTC, or SROTC) is the United States Army component of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps. It is the largest ROTC program, with 20,000 ROTC cadets in 272 ROTC programs at major universities throughout the United States.
The modern Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps was created by the National Defense Act of 1916. This program commissioned its first class of lieutenants in 1920. The concept behind ROTC, however, had its roots in military training which began taking place in civilian colleges and universities as early as 1819 with the founding of the American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy at Norwich, Vermont, followed by various state chartered military schools, and finally civilian land grant colleges after the Civil War, which required military training.
- 1 ROTC progression
- 2 Course of instruction
- 3 Requirements for Commissioning
- 4 Cadre
- 5 Scholarships
- 6 Organization
- 7 Cadet Creed
- 8 Notable graduates
- 9 Awards
- 10 References
For a cadet who takes only the first two years of ROTC (Basic Course), there is no military obligation, unless the student is a 3-4 year scholarship cadet or has other specific scholarships. If a cadet has accepted a scholarship, service commitments may vary. With some exceptions, in order to progress to the last two years of the program (Advanced Course), the cadet must contract with the United States Army. To do so, the student enlists in the United States Army Reserve Control Group (ROTC) as a cadet and elects to serve on either active duty or in a reserve component (Army National Guard or Army Reserve).
Course of instruction
There are two ROTC courses of instruction administered: branch material and general military science. The far majority of ROTC programs today are general military science (many having previously been branch material). If a program is branch material, the course of instruction is designed to prepare the cadet for appointment as a commissioned officer in a specific branch of the Army. A branch material unit may offer training in one or more specific branches. The cadet will train during ROTC specifically for that branch (e.g., aviation, engineering, nursing). When the cadet graduates, he or she will be commissioned in that branch. If the program is general military science (GMS), then the ROTC program will prepare the cadet for appointment as a commissioned officer in any branch of the army for which he or she is qualified, as determined by the army through a selection process. The following is an outline of a general military science program.
Basic Course Qualification Requirements
A candidate for freshman and sophomore level ROTC training must:
- Be of good moral character
- Be a citizen of the United States
- Be able to graduate before 30 years of age
- Be physically able to participate in the program of instruction
- Meet other entrance requirements as determined by the departmental chair, current army regulations, and university policies
A student who does not meet all of the above requirements should consult with the Department of Military Science and Leadership to determine if waivers can be granted.
Military Science I year (MSI)
This year serves as the cadets’ first introduction to the army. Topics covered include military courtesy, military history, basic first aid, basic rifle marksmanship, basic hand grenade use, land navigation, rappelling, fundamentals of leadership, map orienteering, field training, and drill and ceremony.
Military Science II year (MSII)
The second year is an expansion of the topics taught in the first year of the program. Cadets are introduced to tactics, troop leading procedures, basics of operations orders, and ethics.
Military Science III year (MSIII)
The third year marks the beginning of the Advanced Course. This is where most cadets must contract with the army to continue in the program. Cadets may be eligible for the Advanced Course if the following criteria are met:
- The cadet has prior military service OR
- The cadet has completed the first two years of the program (Basic Course) OR
- The cadet has graduated the Leaders Training Course (formerly Basic Camp) at Ft. Knox AND
- The cadet has completed 54 credits (at least 60 preferred) of college coursework.
The course sequence in this year is mainly focused on the application of leadership and small-unit tactics. Cadets are assigned rotating leadership positions within the School Battalion and are evaluated on their performance and leadership abilities while in those positions. Third-year cadets practice briefing operations orders, executing small-unit tactics, leading and participating in physical training, and preparing for successful performance at the four week Leader Development and Assessment Course during the summer following the third year. Under current regulations, attendance at the course is mandatory (in the past, Ranger School was offered as an alternative to select cadets).
Leadership Development Program
During the MSIII year and continuing through the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC), cadets are introduced to the Leadership Development Program (LDP). The LDP is a structured set of rotations where MSIII cadets are assigned to specific roles in an organization consisting of Companies, Platoons, and Squads. Some of the roles traditionally filled are that of a Company Commander, Company XO, First Sergeant, Platoon Leader, Platoon Sergeant, and Squad Leader.
While filling this positions the MSIII is evaluated according to their ability to exemplify the 7 Army Values as well as perform in 17 Leadership Dimensions outlined as:
|Military Bearing||Mental Agility||Leads Others||Creates a Positive Environment||Gets Results|
|Physically Fit||Sound Judgment||Extends Influence beyond CoC||Prepares Self|
|Confident||Innovation||Leads by Example||Develops Others|
The evaluation is usually given by an MSIV and is delivered in writing using Cadet Command Form 156-4A-R commonly referred to as a "Blue Card" due to its traditional color. For each dimension and once overall for the entire rotation in a leadership position the MSIII cadet is evaluated with one of three letters: E - Exceeds the Standard (Excellent), S - Satisfactory, or N - Needs Improvement. At the end of the MSIII school year these evaluations are collected to create a school OML which can give a cadet extra points towards the National OML upon completion of LDAC.
Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC)
The Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) (formerly Advanced Camp) is a paid four-week leadership course conducted at Fort Lewis, Washington, during the summer. Typically, cadets attend LDAC during the summer between their first and second years in the Advanced Course. At LDAC, cadets take on various leadership roles and are evaluated on their performance and leadership abilities in those positions. Cadets also participate in adventure training, to include: confidence and obstacle courses, rappelling, water safety, weapons firing, and patrolling. Cadets must attend and complete this course to earn an army commission. The time spent at LDAC by cadets has been reduced from 33 days to 28 days.
Military Science IV year (MSIV)
This is the final year of the ROTC program and the main focus is towards preparing cadets to become successful lieutenants in the Army upon graduation and commissioning. Senior cadets apply for their branches (career fields). Senior cadets apply before end of their third year but have until mid September to make any changes before they are locked in. In early September, cadets are notified of which service and status they were granted (e.g., Regular Army, Army Reserve, Army National Guard; as well as whether they will be active duty or not). The next thing they will be notified is the branch of choice in mid October. Last but not least, cadets will be given their requested first duty location from late March through early April. In the mean time, senior cadets are assigned cadet battalion staff positions and are responsible for evaluating MS III cadets, planning and coordinating training operations and missions. MSIV's main goal is to teach and train MSIII cadets as well as be a mentor and establish sustainable systems to meet all requirements and provide quality training designed to develop and prepare the best leaders for the United States Army.
Branch assignment for cadets
Branch selection factors branch assignments are made according to the needs of the Army. Consideration is given to the cadet's area of academic specialty. Army policy is to assign graduating cadets to a branch and specialty code based on the following:
- Army branch/specialty strength requirements.
- Academic disciplines.
- Personal preference.
- Recommendation of the Professor of Military Science
- Demonstrated performance and potential.
- Prior military experience.
- Other experience.
Labs place students in leadership positions, teaches and provides practical experience in military drill and ceremonies, troop leading procedures, small unit tactical operations, rappelling, and water survival. Labs are held during the week and run for approximately two hours.
Physical fitness training
Physical fitness training builds physical conditioning, teamwork, and self-confidence. Physical fitness training sessions are scheduled for one-hour and the intensity, time and type of exercises varies. All ROTC students must complete the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) with at least the minimum (60%) in each of the three categories according to their age bracket (See Army Physical Fitness Test). Also each battalion may make its own standards. For example; a battalion may set a standard of scoring no less than 70% (10% more than the army requires) in each category. Failure to reach the battalion standard may require increased physical fitness training on days of rest (commonly known as "incentive PT").
Requirements for Commissioning
The U.S. Army Cadet Command commissions officers to meet the Army’s leadership requirements; and provides a citizenship program that motivates young people to be strong leaders and better citizens.
- Be a U.S. Citizen.
- Less than 42 years old at time of commissioning.
- Be medically qualified at the time of commissioning.
- Per AR 600-9, meet the Height/Weight requirements for your age
- Per AR 145-1, pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) within 6 months of the date of commissioning.
- Pass a swim test and a Combat Water Survival Test (CWST).
- Obtain a security clearance with a Secret status.
- Complete Military Science Level I and II classes
- Or Complete the Leader’s Training Course (LTC) at Ft. Knox, Kentucky
- Or Complete Basic Training and AIT
- Complete Military Science Level III classes
- Complete the Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) at Ft. Lewis, Washington
- Complete Military Science Level IV classes
- Complete a Military History course
- Earn a degree from a four year institution.
The cadre usually consists of 5 to 7 officers ranking from second lieutenant to colonel as well as non-commissioned officers ranking from staff sergeant to master sergeant and civilian technical assistants. It is the cadres’ job to teach and help the cadets achieve the rank of second lieutenant. Every Army ROTC school has a professor of military science; it is their job to instruct the MSIV’s as they make the transition from cadet to second lieutenant. Assistant Professor of Military Science; it is their job to instruct the MSI’s and teach them the fundamentals of the military. Recruiting operations officer; it is their job to make sure that every cadet coming into their program is eligible. The recruiting operations officer also handles the scholarships within its school. The executive officer and enlisted personnel also help with the training of the MS cadets. The civilian technicians are usually retired military personnel whose job is to help the officers with paperwork and medical forms from the MSI’s.
The United States Army offers ROTC scholarships that allow students to finance their education. Scholarship eligibility requirements
- Must be a U.S. citizen
- At least 17 years of age before the scholarship is effective
- Scored a 920 on SAT or 19 on ACT
- 2.5 GPA or higher
- Participant in leadership, extra-curricular, and athletic activities
- Under 27 years old at time of commissioning
- High school grad or equivalent
- Agree to accept a commission upon graduation
- Meet physical standards
- Must be accepted to the university that offers the scholarship
Note that these are just the minimum requirements. The Army seeks to recruit what it calls Scholar, Athlete, Leaders (SAL's). A typical 4-year scholarship winner scores around 1250 on the SAT (or 24 on the ACT), and has a high school GPA of 3.5. A large number of scholarship winners are also members of the National Honor Society, serve in student-body government, or are varsity sports team captains.
Types of Army ROTC scholarships
There are three types of Army ROTC scholarships available:
- The four-year scholarship is designed for high school students planning on attending a four-year college program.
- The three-year scholarship is available for students who have three academic years of college remaining.
- The two-year scholarship is available for students who have two academic years of college remaining.
The Army ROTC scholarship entitles its recipients to full-tuition assistance, as well as a textbook/fee allowance and a monthly stipend to cover the student’s living expenses. Typically, cadets receive tuition assistance. However, they also have the option to apply the scholarship to their ‘room and board’ expenses instead of school tuition.
The amount that cadets on the ROTC scholarship receive for their monthly stipend depends on their year in school:
- Year 1: $300 a month
- Year 2: $350 a month
- Year 3: $450 a month
- Year 4: $500 a month
Alternative to the ROTC scholarship
The Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP) is an alternative route to receive military scholarship benefits. The program requires that cadets enlist in a reserve unit while enrolled in ROTC. This can include the Army National Guard or the Army Reserve. ROTC cadets on scholarship are not allowed to participate in SMP. SMP cadets are not required to complete Basic Combat Training (BCT) or Advanced Individual Training (AIT), but it is necessary to receive specific benefits. The benefits are as follows:
Army Reserve benefits
- Drill pay at E-5 or higher
- Cadet rank
- GI Bill
- Full tuition assistance
Once contracted, ROTC cadets cannot be deployed. However, they are required to attend all drill events with their unit. This includes drill weekend and advanced training.
Cadets may compete for training opportunities conducted at active army schools. This training is usually conducted during the summer months but some allocations are available during the winter holidays. Cadets are selected to attend this training based on their overall standing within the program. Since the number of allocations are limited, selection for schools is competitive and based on factors including ROTC grades, academic grades, participation in ROTC activities, APFT scores and advisor recommendations.
Air Assault School
Cadets are trained in airmobile operations, including rappelling from helicopters, airmobile tactics and rigging air mobile cargo. This is a two-week course taught at Fort Campbell, Kentucky or Fort Rucker, Alabama. Upon successful completion, the cadet is awarded the Air Assault Badge.
Cadet Field Training (CFT)
This is an 4-week program of instruction executed by the United States Military Academy to develop the leadership skills of sophomore cadets. Seven weeks of CFT will be at Camp Buckner. CFT consists of basic skill level training ending with Maneuver Light Training where the cadets train on how to defend and attack an opposing force.
The Cadet Intern Program
An initiative of ASA/MRA, allows cadets to work with Department of the Army (DA), OCAR, NGB, and OSD for 3 weeks.
Cadet Troop Leadership Training
Cadet Troop Leadership Training is an optional program for MSIII cadets during the summer following completion of LDAC. This three week CONUS or 4 week OCONUS program trains cadets in lieutenant positions with active army and reserve component units. Assignments are available in nearly all branches and with units world wide.
Northern Warfare Training Course
This is a three-week course covering tactical operations in a cold weather climate. The course is taught at Fort Greeley, Alaska. Cadets are trained in winter survival techniques, skiing, snowshoeing and cold weather patrolling.
This course is taught at the Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho, Vermont. It is taught in two phases, each lasting two weeks. The summer phase teaches and tests cadets on military mountaineering operations including rock climbing, rappelling and orienteering. The winter phase teaches and tests on similar tasks but in the winter environment. It includes ice climbing, cross-country skiing and cold weather operations.
Activities and clubs
Ranger Challenge is the varsity sport of Army ROTC. A Ranger Challenge team is made up of nine and five-person teams of cadets. They compete against other colleges throughout the nation in events such as: patrolling, weapons assembly, one-rope bridge, Army Physical Fitness Test, land navigation, and a ten kilometer road march. This is both a physically and mentally grueling competition.
It is open to anyone in the battalion. Color Guard is responsible for posting the colors for ceremonial events (football games, dining ins and dining outs, military balls, and commencements), as well as cannon detail at football games, in order to show honor towards flag and country.
These formal social events are designed to allow cadets to experience the type of social gathering and military etiquette they can expect as future commissioned officers. Cadets are encouraged to bring spouses/dates. Many dignitaries are invited, including the school president, certain university officials, and representatives of veterans’ societies, parents and relatives.
ROTC is composed of eight brigades which, in turn command 272 ROTC units, referred to as battalions (though these units are typically much smaller than regular army battalions.) The brigades command ROTC units throughout different regions of the country.
- 1st Reserve Officers' Training Corps Brigade (Responsible for military colleges, i.e., Norwich, VMI, Citadel, Texas A&M)
- 2nd Reserve Officers' Training Corps Brigade (CT, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, Germany, Italy)
- 3rd Reserve Officers' Training Corps Brigade (IA, IL, KS, MN, MO, ND, NE, SD, WI)
- 4th Reserve Officers' Training Corps Brigade (DC, DE, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV)
- 5th Reserve Officers' Training Corps Brigade (AR, AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT, WY)
- 6th Reserve Officers' Training Corps Brigade (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, PR, VI)
- 7th Reserve Officers' Training Corps Brigade (IN, KY, MI, OH, TN)
- 8th Reserve Officers' Training Corps Brigade (AK, AS, CA, GU, HI, ID, MP, MT, NV, OR, WA, Korea, Japan)
The Creed is recited at all dress functions usually following the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
I am an Army Junior ROTC Cadet.
I will always conduct myself to bring credit to my family, country, school, and Corps of Cadets.
I am loyal and patriotic.
I am the future of the United States of America.
I do not lie, cheat, or steal, and will always be accountable for my actions and deeds.
I will always practice good citizenship and patriotism.
I will work hard to improve my mind and strengthen my body.
May God grant me the strength to always live by this creed.
In 1960, General George H. Decker became the first ROTC graduate named Chief of Staff of the Army. General Colin Powell was the first ROTC graduate named Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was a graduate of the City College of New York. He later served as the United States Secretary of State.
Chiefs of staff of the army or chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to come out of Army ROTC include:
- Chiefs of Staff of the Army
- General of the Army George Marshall (Virginia Military Institute)
- General George Decker (Lafayette College)
- General Fred Weyland (University of California, Berkeley)
- General Gordon Sullivan (Norwich University)
- General Peter Schoomaker (University of Wyoming)
- General George Casey (Georgetown University)
- Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Other Notable Graduates*
- Lou Holtz (Kent State)
- Sam Walton (University of Missouri)
- Earl Graves (Morgan State University)
- James Earl Jones (University of Michigan)
- Samuel Alito (Princeton)
- Frank Wells (Pomona College)
- Dean Rusk (Davidson College)
- Nancy Currie (Ohio State)
- Leon Panetta (Santa Clara University)
- Darrell Issa (Kent State)
- Douglas Clayton (Cornell University)
Virginia Military Institute holds the record among ROTC schools for the most general and flag officers produced, with 265 as of 2006. The University of Oregon has produced the highest number of general officers out of the civilian ROTC schools, with a total of 47. Texas A&M University produces more officers than any other ROTC program, largely because of the university's long history as a military college.
There are three Department of the Army decorations authorized exclusively to cadets:
- Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement
- National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA) Award
- Same Award (Society of American Military Engineers)
- National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) (Formerly the American Defense Preparedness Association - ADPA Gold Scholarship Key Award)
- Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Award
- American Legion Awards (General Military Excellence and Scholastic Excellence)
- Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) Award
- The Retired Officers' Association (TROA) Medal
- Society of the War of 1812 Award
- George C. Marshall ROTC Award
- Military Order of the Purple Heart Leadership Medal Award
- United States Field Artillery Association Award
- Army Aviation Association of America Award
- AFCEA Award For Distinguished Performance
- General and Mrs. Matthew B. Ridgway Military History Research Fellowship
- Military Order of World Wars Awards
- Daughters of the American Revolution
- American Veterans Outstanding Cadet Award
- Reserve Officers Association Awards
- USAA Spirit Award
- Veterans of Foreign Wars Award
- National Society of Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America Award
- National Sojourners Award
- Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Award
- Military Officers Association of America Award
- Special Forces Association Award
- American Veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam Award
- Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Education Foundation Award
- Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) Medal and Certificate Award
- Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) Ribbon and Certificate award.
- "Leadership Development Program (LDP) Handbook". US Army Cadet Command. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- "Alumni". VMI Profile. VMI. 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-10-24. Retrieved 2006-11-20.
- "University of Oregon ROTC History". University of Oregon Army ROTC. University of Oregon. 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-20.
- "ROTC Participation". About the Corps. TAMU. 2006. Archived from the original on 7 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-20.
- Matrix.xls "CCR 672-5-1". Cadet Command Awards Matrix. Department of the Army. Retrieved 2009-01-29.[dead link]