ROTC: "…to serve my country, to have a greater appreciation for freedom, for the training and for the adventure"

By Christina Oddo


Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is a national four-year program offered at the University designed to train cadets to become commissioned officers of the United States Army, the Army Reserve or Army National Guard. The University is a host school for Army ROTC.

Students currently enrolled at Bloomsburg University, Susquehanna University, Pennsylvania College of Technology and Lycoming College have the opportunity to participate in the program along with University students.

“The benefits of the program are that upon completion you are able to commission in to the Army as an officer at the rank of second Lieutenant. Also, there are a variety of scholarships available including two-, three- or four-year scholarships that can cover your tuition, housing, meal plan, books and you even get a little spending money with the stipend,” cadet Brian Charland ’13 said.
Charland got involved in the program during his junior year of high school when he started talking to and meeting with college representatives. 
“I decided to join Army ROTC to serve my country, to have a greater appreciation for freedom, [for] the training and for the adventure,” Charland said.

First-year students with scholarships and first- and second-year students without scholarships have the ability to enroll on a trial basis without committing to the military. Students can also leave the ROTC program or continue to earn a commission as an officer upon graduation. It is possible to join ROTC as late as the fall of junior year. If students take part in a 28-day summer training camp, they have the opportunity to skip the first-year and sophomore training levels.

First- and second- year cadets have a time commitment of five hours a week. Juniors and seniors then spend ten 10 hours a week for the program. During this required time, cadets take classes, train, attend monthly leadership labs and participate in semester field training exercise. Cadets have class once a week. This class is an hour for first-years, two hours for sophomores, and three hours for juniors and seniors. These weekly classes do not count for academic credit at the University. Cadets learn lessons in leadership, as well as army structure, values and communication. The ROTC program also requires cadets to take a 33-day summer training course between their junior and senior years.

“We also meet every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 0600 or occasionally earlier for physical training,” Charland said. “A Junior (MSIII) will take the role of platoon sargeant and lead the group through a series of exercises.  Twice a semester we are tested in an Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) that makes sure we are meeting the Army standards.The test consists of two minutes of as many push ups as you can do, and two minutes of as many sit ups as you can do and a two mile run. Every couple of months we take a weekend and will go out into the woods and practice the skills we are learning in the classroom out in the field.”

Cadets also generally participate in day and night land navigation, squad training exercises, patrolling and battle drills.

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