Are Army ROTC Cadets in the Army?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by john3337, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. john3337

    john3337 Member

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    Hello! I am going to be an Army ROTC cadet on 4 yr scholarship this coming up year, and I was wondering if, because of that, I am technically in the army. I know that West Point Cadets are Active Duty US Army all through college, but I was curious if, because I'm on scholarship and basically in the same boat as them (IE: If I leave, I either pay back the money or have to give time) if I will be a member of the army as well once I sign my contract. So, what's the deal with that? Thanks for the help!
     
  2. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    Congratulations on your four year scholarship.

    As an ROTC cadet, you are not in the army.

    Unlike West Point cadets (as well as cadets at the USAFA and USCGA and midshipmen at the USNA), you are not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

    You are not obligated to pay back the scholarship or serve if you leave the program until the beginning of your second year as a student.

    You may be attending Airborne or Air Assault School with West Point cadets. Otherwise, you will not be in the same boat with them unless it is the Staten Island ferry.
     
  3. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    Contracted Army ROTC cadets sign an enlistment contract and take an oath of enlistment just like everybody else that has enlisted in the military. They are "enlisted" in the USAR specifically under cadet commands ROTC Control Group. Hence why we carry reserve component Mil ID's. Just like above, we are not subject to UCMJ action.

    Basically, yes, technically, however most cadets don't go running around saying this.

    Another little nifty fact, cadets pay grades on their ID's is listed at E-6. Doesn't mean any of us are SSG's, but our stipend is about the same as an E-6's drill pay.

    *All of this is on the contract you may sign
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Interesting -Bull-, goes to show again how different branches operate.

    An AFROTC scholarship cadet is not a military member until they are a POC. Their first 2 yrs they can walk away with no obligation. Not only that, but they get no bennies (medical, BAS, etc) unless on orders until they commission. Additionally, they do not get any service time. For example, as a POC you sign the "I will owe the loan or go AD as enlisted" paperwork, you get a CAC i.d., this will allow you on any base, but it doesn't mean you can go to the base doc. and nor does when you commission you enter as an O-1 with 2 yrs. You enter as an O-1 with less than 2. You don't get the BAS until you are about to commission.
     
  5. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    depends on what you mean by "Army". I you mean "Active Duty" Army, then no.

    When you sign your ROTC Contract (I think as a 4 Yr. scholarship winner you do that during ROTC Orientation just before school starts), you are in the "Reserve Component" of the Army. You don't get any active duty military benefits because you are not in the Active Duty Army. When you commission four years later (you said you were starting as a 4 yr. HS Scholarship awardee) into the Reserve Component, there is a good possiblity you will earn the right to be Assigned by the Reserve Component into Extended Active Duty. A 4 Yr. HS Scholarship awardee may freely leave the Reserve Component of the Army any time up until the first day of his/her sophomore year in college, without any obligation. The details of this are in the Contract I link to below. Starting that 1st day of Sophomore year, should a 3 or 4 yr scholarship awardee leave ROTC (either voluntarily or because of the Cadre separate the Cadet), the cadet is obligated to pay back all tuition/fees/books/stipend they have received up to that point. All recent reports of ROTC cadets/mids leaving ROTC result in a pay-back obligation, not an active duty service obligation. This is because all three branches of the Armed Forces are in draw down mode... they need money more than bodies at this point in time.

    So, bottom line, when you contract, you are IN the Reserve Component of the United States Army. "In" means you have a contractual obligation to fulfill.

    Here is a sample of the Contract you will sign. Most Scholarship Awardees do not ever see or think about this piece of paper until they are sitting in ROTC Orientation at school. It is better for you to understand this contract before you arrive at school, to get your thinking straight about what you are committing to. http://www.missouristate.edu/assets/milsci/DA597_3_Scholarship_Cadet_Contract.pdf

    If you read that Contract carefully, and notice the exact wording, in four years you will Commission into the Reserve Component of the United States Army, with an eight year obligation to serve in this Reserve Component. Reading further down, you will see that you may apply for Extended Active Duty service in the Army (which is currently a 4 year obligation -- Navy is 5, by the way). This doesn't mean you are no longer in the Army Reserves. It means the Army Reserves have assigned you into the Active Duty Army. I don't know where it is in this contract, but upon completion of 4 years Active Duty, you may join the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) for the balance (last 4 years) of your 8 year service obligation, or stay in Active Duty, with approval, beyond the 4 year initial obligation. IRR is different from the normal Ready Reserve. IRR is the subsection of Army Ready Reserve that is rarely, if ever, called into active duty, and is last in line, behind Army Ready Reserve, to be called out of Reserve status into Active Duty status. A description of IRR is found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual_Ready_Reserve

    So, to sum it up, ROTC Scholarship winners such as yourself are part of the Reserve Component of the United States Army the day they sign their Contract. Upon commissioning, usually after Senior Year also called MSIV year, about 65% (currently) of Reserve Officers will be Assigned by the Reserve Component of the Army for Extended Active Duty Service in the Army for four years, followed by four years of IRR assignment.

    So, although both ROTC and the Academies commission cadets as Army Second Lieutenants, ROTC does so into the Reserve Component (with possible Assignment into Extended Active Duty), while West Point commissions cadets directly and only into the Active Duty Component of the US Army. ROTC in this sense has a great deal more potential flexibility and choice available to its cadets. I say potential because some ROTC cadets do not score high enough amongst their peers (OML) to qualify for Extended Active Duty Assignment.

    So then, an ROTC cadet has two basic potential paths upon commissioning as an Officer in the Reserve Component of the US Army:

    1) Serve 8 years as an Army Reserve -or- Army National Guard Officer
    2) Petition for an get Assigned into the Active Duty Army for 4 years, followed by 4 years in Individual Ready Reserve (IRR)
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Interesting. Not trying to divert or confuse, but for AFROTC it is not the 1st day of Soph yr. It is upon successful completion of SFT, and basically the 1st day of your Junior yr. You have 2 free yrs. not 1.

    I do agree every branch right now is not doing the enlistment option on a whole, but they still can force enlistment if it is a critically manned field. I know of an AFROTC dis-enrolled cadet that was not given the payback option, he will be going enlisted. What this cadet needs to understand is nobody here knows what it will look like in the next few yrs., they may do a 180 and not allow the cadet to pay back, but force them to go enlisted. That was how it was only a few short yrs ago.

    It is not a one size fits all, and nobody should assume that today they force you to pay it back; which you are fine with over serving enlisted, that is what it will be like 2 yrs from now.

    You have to be fine with both options, debt or enlisting. Gojira's DS was fine with enlisting, but he got the payback only option.

    If the OP is wondering about AD and if they can call him up, that is another issue, but if he is just wondering to say I'm AD and bennies, than NO, nobody in the AD world would consider him AD. AD members don't consider SA cadets/mids AD.

    OBTW, before they called him up as AROTC cadet we would be facing the end of the world! They would have to go through AD Army, Reserves, Guard, probably USMA too before they hit their number. Fact is we will never see a WWII again because technologically we are way past that option!
     
  7. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Add both Dunninla's and Pima's post together and you have the complete answer your looking for.

    The biggest difference between the two is AFROTC gives you the first 2 years with no obligation, the AROTC only gives you one. Just as a note, the USMA allows you to walk after 2 years, AROTC is a little stricter on that level.

    In AROTC you are not required to have an ID Card, you probably won't get one unless you need it for something specific. You will need an ID if you go to Airborne or other summer training, you'll need it for LDAC, you would need one for CULP. If you don't go to CULP, or a Summer Training, or Ranger Challenge you could go almost 3 years without needing an ID.

    Now, if you do get the Reserve ID Card you will be able to go on base, use the PX, the Gym, the Movie Theater, ect., but as Pima stated you can't use the medical or other regular services.

    Unlike the USMA you do not get to count the years of ROTC as time served unless you are a SMP cadet in the reserves or National Guard.

    There is one thing that's interesting though, if you get selected for CULP, you will go to Ft. Knox for about 5 days before leaving for your assigned country. During this time you will go through In Processing, you go through medical, sign up for life insurance, get your Active Duty CAC Card, go through the finance meetings. You go through the same in processing that you will go through when you are Active Duty. Basically for the month you are at CULP you are Active Duty. Funny thing is, the expiration date on the CAC Card is the date of your graduation so you get to keep it. The Active Duty time does not count for anything but at least you get to go to movies at a discount.

    Technically you are in the Reserve Component, but it is the Cadet Command version, not the real Reserves, you get no drill pay, you don't drill, no insurance or medical, and no credit for your time in ROTC, you do get the nifty ID card though.
     
  8. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Pima,

    Your correct, AROTC's obligation starts the first day of the sophomore year for 4yr and 3yr Scholarship cadets, they are given just one free year with no obligation.

    Your also right about the obligation payback being a case by case situation. My son's battalion had a cadet that was required to enlist last May due to disenrollment, so it does still happen. As you stated a cadet can not assume anything when it comes to paying back the obligation.
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    That is exactly the same for AFROTC once they go to SFT. You can't become a POC without SFT, scholarship or not. No SFT = no POC, in essence CULP is their SFT. One difference is military dependents do not necessarily get the CAC card, because as dependents they already have their military i.d. The rest is the same, they sign up for SGLI, they get medical care, and are informed of how the pay system works, mainly because for SFT it is considered TDY, thus it is per diem pay on top of their stipend. As soon as that TDY is over, they are back to being just a ROTC cadet, those bennies are wiped away, except for getting on base and the places you mentioned. OBTW, I am not sure for AF it is true regarding the gym though, gyms are NAF, and due to that fact if the base doesn't have funds to support it they can charge membership. Pentagon charges membership fees, so it isn't free. I also think that they have blocks on it for the commissary, not the BX, sim. to the guard. If you have orders you can go to the commissary, if you don't you can't. Won't swear by it, but I recall their CAC cards being more like Guard members on assignment. Show orders you can use anything on base/post, no orders and you are limited.

    Don't forget they also get discounts at Aeropostale, Rack Room shoes, Lowe's and Amtrack too, just to name a few! Many stores give 10-15% discounts by just showing your military id.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  10. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Sounds like it works about the same, the only advantage with CULP is that a cadet can go the summer after their freshman year so they get that card for an extra year.

    Cadets with an ID Card can use the PX and Commissary on an Army post, as well as the gym, at the posts we've been on the fitness centers are not contracted out and have no membership fee, other Post may be different. When my son was going to purchase his phone at the PX they told him he could also get a STAR Card...(Credit Card) if he wanted, he chose not to at this point. This of course could be base specific as well.

    Both son's have made good use of the discounts. T-Mobile also gives 15% off the monthly payment for Military, not a bad deal.
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    You don't want the STAR because that is just more debt at a higher interest rate than USAA.

    Off topic, but for those that are in the system now, can the cadets get USAA membership. USAA is tied to the military. Dependents can become a USAA member, but I don't know if cadets can. DS has been a member since he was 18, because we are USAA members. If this is available to cadets, do it now!

    USAA has great interest rates, but more insurance and banking and their yrly check in Dec.

    Car Insurance is always cheaper with them. Okay not always, but in every state I ever lived in (NJ,NC,AK, KS, NM, ID, CA, and VA) it was always cheaper.

    If their school forces them to live off campus, you can also get renter's insurance too.

    Banking is issues for some if they don't have a smart phone or scanner. If they do, all the cadet/mid needs to do is take a picture of the check and send it to their account. The beauty of USAA is that they reimburse every ATM fee. If they go to BoA and pay $3 for the withdrawal, at the end of the month USAA puts the $3 bucks back into their account.
    ~~~ If you are the 1st child going to college, trust me you can blow $15 a month in those fees, 150 within a yr. Your money.

    When you get insurance through them you get a Subscriber account, think shares and dividends. In Dec. they send you a check. It takes yrs and yrs to get a nice check, but the sooner you start, the sooner those "I forgot I would get this check" arrives when you want it the most...Xmas! 23 yrs now, and we get between 150-350 a yr. (Bad Hurricane season, Bad stock market and we get 150 --- hurricane is because look at where many military installations are at; FL, LA, SC, GA, NC, TX, and VA)

    Just food for thought since the thread has morphed.

    PS Jcleppe, AT&T also gives a discount, I think it is 10% (we have it), but what we learned is kids tend to look for the newest and best phone. DS got a new phone in Feb., and they tried to sell him the upgrade service, but he did his homework...Laughlin AFB did not have the type of coverage needed for that smart phone, it would have been a waste of money.
     
  12. john3337

    john3337 Member

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    Whoa, that was a lot more informative than I expected. Answers my question perfectly, though! I appreciate the help. And I wasn't planning on going around saying I'm part of re army by technicality by the way, for whoever asked. Just wanted to know where I stood. Thanks!
     
  13. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    USAA

    Pima - Per the USAA website, the following can join:

    Cadets/midshipmen at the U.S. service academies, in advanced ROTC or on ROTC scholarship, and officer candidates within 24 months of commissioning through other programs.
     
  14. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    That was the exact thing I told my son when they offered him the Star Card.

    USAA is a great company, older son now has all his banking/insurance with them, we have been members for years, gotta love those checks at Xmas time.

    Jcc123 beat me to the punch about cadets and USAA.

    The Career Starter Loan for graduating cadets is a great deal as well.

    Jcc123, glad you got your answer, and don't hesitate to get those discounts when offered.

    Boy you got that right, when the older son graduated we went to look at phones along with the younger one. They both wanted to upgrade to Smartphones, talked me into getting one as well. After looking at them I began to wonder the same thing about coverage, so we decided to wait untile he got to Alabama. I helped him with the drive and once there we researched the phones to make sure the plans that were offered would work. Older son is still on our family plan, much cheaper for him and he just paid for a year up front. I got the phones when I got back home and then mailed his to him, it works great. Glad we did it that way or he would have got a phone with a plan that didn't work there and would have wasted the money. Greta tip Pima for those heading to their first duty station.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  15. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    Not to derail this thread any more, but son is at Laughlin with an AT&T iPhone 4S and has 4G service. Laughlin has great AT&T coverage.

    Stealth_81
     
  16. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    I forgot that Academy students are considered Active Duty. Does that mean that when they finish their 5 year Active Duty Service Obligation that they don't then enter IRR for the remaining years as ROTC commissioned offers do that don't serve 8 years active?
     
  17. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    5 years Active Duty
    3 years IRR
    Total 8 years
     
  18. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Dang Stealth, DS went with the lower tier because according to coverage Laughlin didn't have 4G. Oh well, by the time he gets there he can upgrade it.

    Becareful of the starter loans. Yes, it is a great deal, but they forget that if they are ROTC with student loans, and a car payment taking the full amount can hurt.

    DS took 10K. 5 K went straight to IRA to max. 5 K to furnish and move. He purchased a new car (Toyota Corrolla) through the dealer. He got a 0.9% interest, plus a new grad discount and military discount. If he incorporated the car loan it would have been at a higher interest rate...@ 2.9%

    Devil is in the details.
     
  19. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Your right, if a kid already has student loans and a car loan the starter loan can really add to that debt level.

    Son had no other loans, took the starter loan, used part to purchase a car, not a new one so no special rates there, and part to purchase some furniture. He has some left over which he may use to pay down the principle. As long as he stays debt free other then that loan for a while he should be fine.

    Your right though, every cadet really needs to know and understand their whole finacial situation before taking the loan.
     
  20. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    OK, thanks, so it's the same. Active Duty + IRR must sum to 8 years.
     

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