Cadets Find their Future in the Army
After various performance assessments, participation in multiple extracurricular activities, and numerous evaluations that assessed their overall physical fitness, the United States Army awarded 13 MS IV senior cadets from the Cameron University ROTC program with active duty jobs.
A branch is a career field within the military while a duty status illustrates whether a cadet will work full or part time, and it is a very competitive process.
Currently, active duty status in the Infantry and Medical are the most competitive branches. Active duty status allows an officer to work full time as a soldier. If active duty is not awarded, National Guard or Reserve Components are presented which allow a cadet to be attached to a particular state within the country and serve as an officer on a part-time basis.
Robery McCoy, a MS IV cadet who was awarded active duty, received his first choice of Medical Services said he was extremely excited about his new job.
“I knew how competitive medical services was,” McCoy said, “so it definitely made it all worth it – all the hard work I put in for the past four years. To finally get what I wanted and the result of that hard work was a dream come true.”
In order to achieve active duty status and receive branch of choice, a cadet must accumulate a myriad of accession points that will allow them to rank high on the National Order Merit List (OML), which is a report that ranks cadets in chronological order nationwide. If you are ranked in the top 20 percent in the nation as cadet, active duty status and granting of a competitive branch is a high probability.
In order to accumulate points, a cadet must not only endure rigorous and stressful evaluations throughout their tenure in the ROTC program, but also they must maintain a high GPA, which accounts for 40 percent of total accession points. If a cadet is able to keep his or her GPA above the national average of 3.5, more points will be granted.
Cadets are also awarded points based on the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) score, which has the national average of 275 out of a total 300 points on the test being scored. Leadership assessments and various extracurricular activities such as participation in the annual Ranger Challenge, Color Guard including involvement in various community and intramural athletics also account for accession points.
Finally, all cadets need to successfully complete Advance Camp, which is a 30 day capstone event located in Ft. Knox, Kentucky. The purpose of this course is to evaluate cadets on various leadership skills and overall office potential.
McCoy credits his personal hard work and due diligence for allowing him to receive the active duty status and medical services branch.
“There were many late nights of studying trying to get my GPA up,” McCoy said. “Wanting to go out with friends but having to study, there were many times I had to run an extra mile to maintain physical fitness when I’d much rather been playing video games.”
Now that he’s about to be a medical officer, McCoy said he will focus on achieving personal goals.
“My goals are to better individuals around me [and] make an impact on other lives,” he said. “I want to better myself, grow in the military and expand my skill set.”
There are 17 different active duty branches that a cadet can choose from in the United States Army. These branches can range from combat arms positions (Infantry, Field Artillery, Armor) to more support based jobs (Transportation, Human Resources, or Supply). Within these branches, each cadet has the potential to hold a certain job depending on their current rank.
Jacob Clark, a MS IV cadet who received active duty but received one of his alternate branch choices of Ordinance (Maintenance Officer), believes that officers are still expected to lead by example and perform at high levels regardless of their branch and duty status.
Clark said even though he did not receive his first branch choice, which was infantry, he is content with Ordinance and still plans to excel in that branch while adequately managing his troops.
All of the seniors start training for their individual jobs this summer after the commissioning ceremony on May 5.