By Shianne Taylor – Staff Writer
Do you feel like college is almost over, and you still do not have a plan of what to do next? Maybe, you are in your first year and are still undecided. If so, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), might be a program that can help.
CU’s ROTC program works as a minor where students/cadets can learn more about the Army. It prepares individuals for whichever route they choose next– active duty, reserves, or national guard. The program is available for all students regardless of what degree they are seeking or what their major is.
ROTC sets people up for success after college, but when someone signs up for the ROTC program here at Cameron University or joins the Military Science department, they do not have any obligation to the Army right away.
ROTC’s Program Recruiter and retired military officer Jeff Klosterman, experienced the program for himself when he was in college.
Klosterman said that what is important is that you want to be in the program. “MSI and MSII classes are a try before you buy,” Klosterman said. “This allows for students to gain hands-on information about the military without any commitment.”
The progression of the classes goes MSI, Mission Set 1, – MSIV, Mission Set 4. Each cadet takes one of these classes per year unless they are on the fast track and taking one per semester that coincides with them graduating with their degree. This is determined by evaluating where a student is aligned academically for graduation and how much prior military service they may have.
It will not be until during one’s MSII or MSIII classes when the cadet enters the discussions about becoming a Contracted Cadet, which brings additional entitlements. The program prepares each cadet for military requirements before commissioning, which happens as one is graduating from Cameron University and the ROTC program. This prepares students for their military duties.
ROTC also offers an Elective Physical Fitness Training class for credit to all Cameron students. This class helps the student get into shape. PT is mandatory for all contracted cadets.
A benefit to the ROTC program is that each cadet has their academic plan which is created by using tools provided by the U.S. Army Cadet Command and supported through Cameron University. This helps the student, the program, the university and the Army, so they can know how the student is progressing and when they will commission.
Once the cadets commission, they are sent to additional training to prepare them for their job in the military. There are a variety of directions that each individual cadet can take post graduation.
“Being in the program guarantees a job with great benefits after graduation,” Klosterman said. “Though it is up to the student and the route they take whether it is a part-time or full-time job.”
A common concern about joining the military is that they will deploy to war. However, just being in the Army does not mean that they definitely deploy, though one must always be ready. Being deployed does have its advantages though. For example, deployed soldiers have reduced living expenses, still get paid, and get to travel.
In the ROTC program, there are people of all ages and people who have already been in the military that bring a level of experience to the program that encourages other cadets to improve at a faster rate.
ROTC student, MSIV, Senior William Dewberry recommends that students come into the program with an open mind.
“The information you get from the ROTC doesn’t just pertain to the military,” Dewberry said. “It can also help you in your everyday life.”
For further information, see Jeff Klosterman in Burch Hall, Room 106 or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.