Gamecock Battalion

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Seawings18, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. Seawings18

    Seawings18 Member

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    I have been reading these forums for a little over a year now and would like to sincerely thank all of the frequent posters (to include but certainly not limited to Luigi, Pima, Kinnem, Bruno, etc.) for taking the time out of your days to inform candidates for commissioning programs and our families about... well almost anything! :shake:
    I was wondering if anybody could help me to learn more about South Carolina NROTC (especially Kinnem if you are willing). I have perused the unit and school website and like what I have seen thus far, however, any extra information or personal experiences with the Gamecock battalion would be great (I have also looked through the older threads on the forums). Thank you!
    -Seawings18
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Well, IMO it's a great unit at a great school but then I am definitely biased. There are about 100 midshipmen in the unit, give or take, including several MECEPS. Clubs include Nuke, Blue & Gold (Navy), Semper Fi (Marines obviously), Nursing, Viking (sailing?), Cockpit Club (Aviation), and Boat Crew (SpecWar). I don't know the breakdown of scholarship midshipmen to college programmers but my guess is about 50-50, but no one cares who is who.

    The unit has a tailgate prior to all home football games (I love to go when I'm there) and I think freshman attendance is required. The unit, like many if not most units around the country, cleans the stadium after each home game. It's how they raise money for the unit. They are relatively close to Ft. Jackson and train there 2-3 times a semester. Occasionally they do a long weekend at Parris Island (optional for Navy and Nursing options).

    The unit has a great drill team. They usually either win or place at the Tulane Drill Meet during Mardi Gras.

    I perhaps could be more helpful if i knew more what your interests were. Are you applying Navy option, Marine option, or Nursing? Which class year are you in? Any specific questions or concerns that you have? Where do you live, etc. etc. If I were guessing from your screen name I would bet your interested in aviation. Feel free to PM me if you feel more comfortable discussing stuff that way.
     
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Oh, check out the facebook page - 'Gamecock Battalion'. Lot's of great pics there.
     
  4. Seawings18

    Seawings18 Member

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    I knew there was one place I forgot to look... Facebook! I cant PM you yet as I haven't made 5 posts so I wont get too specific, but I should have provided more information initially. I plan to go Navy option and live out of state from South Carolina. And yes, I am interested in Naval Aviation. I want to study Marine Sciences and pursue a minor or double major; I have 16 credits now with AP at SC so I plan to at least earn a double minor (one of which being Naval Science). I guess I would like to know what SC does for Orientation and what kind of training they do at Fort Jackson and Parris Island. If you know what an average week is like at the unit I would appreciate that insight as well.
     
  5. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    OK. Thanks for the insight on your interests. Lot's of ground to cover so strap in... here goes!

    Being out of state you are eligible to be selected for the Woodrow Scholarship at South Carolina. All out of state applicants are automatically entered for this scholarship merely by applying. It brings the tuition rate down to near in-state levels. As a Woodrow scholarship winner, this is what enabled my son to attend there as the costs were only $2K more than what it would have cost to send him to a public in NC.

    The unit's alumni association also gives scholarships to college programmers who complete freshman orientation that are essentially equivalent to the Woodrow scholarship. I don't know if they still do this, especially as the Freshman Orientation format changed radically this year. If you meet with the cadre at the school this might be a good question to ask. It's always wise to have backup plans if you don't get an NROTC scholarship. BTW - if you don't win an NROTC scholarship, midshipmen in good standing can apply for an in-school (sideload) scholarship starting second semester of freshman year. It's a national competition and I think around 200 such scholarships were awarded last year for Navy Option midshipmen.

    I'm not too clear on the new Freshman Orientation format at South Carolina. It used to be that prospective midshipmen reported 6 days prior to move-in day and bunked at the unit the entire week while they went through training, PT, etc. It was a pretty intense week. I believe this year folks reported on move-in day and slept in their dorms and participated in other school activities. They also PTed at 0'Dark:30 day (much as they would during the school year) and attended NROTC "academic" classes learning custom and courtesies, etc. etc. All gear was also issued during the week. I'm not sure why they changed it this year. The previous MOI returned to the fleet and I'm not sure when the new MOI (Marine Officer Instructor - in charge of ALL physical training at the unit) reported. So that could be it. It might also be just the change in personnel itself. Or it maybe they reassessed how they were doing things. They may also reassess this year, plus the same MOI will still be there next year, so there is no guarantee as to what Freshman O will look like next year in my opinion.

    At Fort Jackson training will vary. One session might be on the Leadership Development Course where each person gets a chance to play "squad leader" and "solve" a problem... could be "repairing a blown bridge", getting munitions across a "blown bridge", getting a wounded Marine across a "river", etc etc. Another might be running their Obstacle or Confidence course. Another might be Land Navigation (most likely would be Marines for that but one never knows).

    Parris Island was for Marines but Navy Options were allowed to attend at least one year. Rappelling, Fast Roping, landing in a "helicopter" and marching to retrieve a "downed pilot". etc.

    A typical freshman week: PT 05:30 Mon Wed, Fri. Naval Science class 2 - 3 days a week. It usually starts 8:45 or 9:00 but times may vary. I think they try to schedule it so you have plenty of time to shower, dress, and get breakfast before class. Naval Science Lab 1 afternoon per week 2:30 - 5:00. This year it's on Tuesday. You will wear your uniform that day to all your classes and to lab as well, of course. After formation and roll the lab might be something the entire unit participates in, or you could break up into respective clubs for some training. There is usually a "fun day" of competitive athletics each semester with the unit. There is also usually a "Fittest Midshipman" competition each semester, something analogous to the PFT or CFT but with more 'fun' stuff. Fall football games - Tally Ho! pregame tailgate. And for all students, an opportunity to get tickets in the exciting student section for the 'big game' while wearing Garnet and Black. Sunday AM after home football games - report at 06:45 to clean up the stadium and the surrounding grounds, rain or shine. (BTW - I'm going down to Columbia this Thursday just to go to Tally Ho! and watch the Gamecocks whup up on UNC! I'll watch the game on the big screen under the Tally-Ho! canopy while enjoying burgers, potato salad and my favorite beverage. Free for midshipmen (hence, stadium cleaning). I have to pay a "donation")

    Special Events: Fall and Summer CO's inspection during lab. Navy and Marine Birthday Ball in the fall... wear your dress blues and bring your favorite date, or have one of your buddies set you up with someone. Late autumn semester "Pass in Review". Mess night in the spring (also referred to as dining-in)... another dress blue evening. End of Spring semester - Tri-Serive awards. Army, AF and NROTC get together where awards for performance during the semester, some being scholarship dollars, are given out by the alumni association and the American Legion, etc.

    Check out the Facebook page and you'll see pics of ALL this stuff. Hope this helps!
     
  6. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    OK. Thanks for the insight on your interests. Lot's of ground to cover so strap in... here goes!

    Being out of state you are eligible to be selected for the Woodrow Scholarship at South Carolina. All out of state applicants are automatically entered for this scholarship merely by applying. It brings the tuition rate down to near in-state levels. As a Woodrow scholarship winner, this is what enabled my son to attend there as the costs were only $2K more than what it would have cost to send him to a public in NC.

    The unit's alumni association also gives scholarships to college programmers who complete freshman orientation that are essentially equivalent to the Woodrow scholarship. I don't know if they still do this, especially as the Freshman Orientation format changed radically this year. If you meet with the cadre at the school this might be a good question to ask. It's always wise to have backup plans if you don't get an NROTC scholarship. BTW - if you don't win an NROTC scholarship, midshipmen in good standing can apply for an in-school (sideload) scholarship starting second semester of freshman year. It's a national competition and I think around 200 such scholarships were awarded last year for Navy Option midshipmen.

    I'm not too clear on the new Freshman Orientation format at South Carolina. It used to be that prospective midshipmen reported 6 days prior to move-in day and bunked at the unit the entire week while they went through training, PT, etc. It was a pretty intense week. I believe this year folks reported on move-in day and slept in their dorms and participated in other school activities. They also PTed at 0'Dark:30 day (much as they would during the school year) and attended NROTC "academic" classes learning custom and courtesies, etc. etc. All gear was also issued during the week. I'm not sure why they changed it this year. The previous MOI returned to the fleet and I'm not sure when the new MOI (Marine Officer Instructor - in charge of ALL physical training at the unit) reported. So that could be it. It might also be just the change in personnel itself. Or it maybe they reassessed how they were doing things. They may also reassess this year, plus the same MOI will still be there next year, so there is no guarantee as to what Freshman O will look like next year in my opinion. However, whatever format Freshman O takes, trust me, you will be well trained at the unit.

    At Fort Jackson training will vary. One session might be on the Leadership Development Course where each person gets a chance to play "squad leader" and "solve" a problem... could be "repairing a blown bridge", getting munitions across a "blown bridge", getting a wounded Marine across a "river", etc etc. Another might be running their Obstacle or Confidence course. Another might be Land Navigation (most likely would be Marines for that but one never knows).

    Parris Island was for Marines but Navy Options were allowed to attend at least one year. Rappelling, Fast Roping, landing in a "helicopter" and moving a few miles to retrieve a "downed pilot" and return to the helicopter, under arms of course. etc.

    A typical freshman week: PT 05:30 Mon Wed, Fri. You'll also be expected to PT a couple times a week on your own time, and you'll need to to get better scores. Naval Science class 2 - 3 days a week. It usually starts 8:45 or 9:00 but times may vary. I think they try to schedule it so you have plenty of time to shower, dress, and get breakfast before class. Naval Science Lab 1 afternoon per week 2:30 - 5:00. This year it's on Tuesday. You will wear your uniform that day to all your classes and to lab as well, of course. After formation and roll the lab might be something the entire unit participates in, or you could break up into respective clubs for some training. There is usually a "fun day" of competitive athletics each semester with the unit. There is also usually a "Fittest Midshipman" competition each semester, something analogous to the PFT or CFT but with more 'fun' stuff. Fall football games - Tally Ho! pregame tailgate. And for all students, an opportunity to get tickets in the exciting student section for the 'big game' while wearing Garnet and Black. Sunday AM after home football games - report at 06:45 to clean up the stadium and the surrounding grounds, rain or shine. (BTW - I'm going down to Columbia this Thursday just to go to Tally Ho! and watch the Gamecocks whup up on UNC! I'll watch the game on the big screen under the Tally-Ho! canopy while enjoying burgers, potato salad and my favorite beverage. Free for midshipmen (hence, stadium cleaning). I have to pay a "donation")

    Special Events: Fall and Summer CO's inspection during lab. Navy and Marine Birthday Ball in the fall... wear your dress blues and bring your favorite date, or have one of your buddies set you up with someone. Late autumn semester "Pass in Review". Mess night in the spring (also referred to as dining-in)... another dress blue evening. End of spring semester - Tri-Service Awards.. all ROTCs get together for performance awards from alumni association and/or American Legion. Some of these awards have scholarship $$$$ to go with them.

    Check out the Facebook page and you'll see pics of ALL this stuff. Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  7. Seawings18

    Seawings18 Member

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    Awesome! Thanks for all of the information. I'm definitely getting excited for NROTC and it sounds like a squared away unit! I'm getting the impression the Marine Options get to do more extra "stuff" than their Navy counterparts?
     
  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Don't know about more... just different. I'm just more in touch with the Marine Options since my son is one. I know the Navy Options make some field trips. Of course the contracted kids have their summer cruises. The Navy Options outnumber the Marine Options somewhat. My son's class started with 45, had 35 after Freshman O, and is now down to 20. 8 of them are Marine Options. I think 2 are Nursing Options. So that Leaves 10 Navy Options in his class. Probably a typical class.

    EDIT: I think I mentioned the Sailing Club in a previous post which is all Navy Options. They compete in a few regattas each year. All midshipmen can participate with the drill team.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  9. Seawings18

    Seawings18 Member

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    Makes sense. Well I guess I don't really have too much else left to ask, you should really look into being a unit admissions officer or something! :shake: But seriously, thank you very much! I guess my last question would be how easy do you think it is to balance the workload at SC while staying active in the unit's extracurricular activities (Drill Team, etc.)?
     
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Well I won't say it's easy, but if my son can do it so can you. He's not the b rightest guy academically but he works hard at it just as he works hard within the unit.

    Besides the regular stuff I already mentioned, he also served as either a squad leader or Platoon Sergeant each semester starting second semester freshman year. He also participated in Boat Crew each Friday evening and obviously Semper Fi (required of Marine Options but pretty much a Lab day thing). He was also on the drill team each Spring and got to go to Mardi Gras twice. Of course this meant extra time at 0'dark:30 for drill practice or practice after classes. This semester he is one of the Company XOs and is doing Boat Crew 4 evenings a week now. He usually carries about 16 credits counting the Naval Science classes (when he has them... Marines don't have it every semester like Navy Options do). All that time he has maintained a CGPA of 3.7, participated in a Ball Room Dancing club (personally I think all officers should be GREAT ball room dancers) and manages to have plenty of fun evenings and weekends. But there is no doubt that he works hard and has to carefully manage his time for the most part.

    The leadership roles do demand time above and beyond the classes. Making sure the squad is ready for inspections. Making sure color duty and watch duty is being properly handled. Plus evaluations at the end of the semester and counseling of any squad members who are not up to snuff. DS had a real problem child his first time out as a squad leader. Said midshipman would show up for color duty in uniform, not pressed, while wearing hot pink sneakers (making the 'in uniform' statement earlier irrelevant). Needless to say there was a counseling session then. Also had to address the gear she lost and make sure she got new gear to replace it. etc. etc. The higher you go in responsibility the more time it takes. BTW said midshipman is no longer with the unit as she dropped... probably why she was a problem child as she clearly wasn't committed.

    DS's life revolves around the unit. I would say it's like a fraternity to him in many ways, and especially Boat Crew is, as most of the crew goes out to dinner on Fridays after their evolutions and they do other fun non-ROTC stuff together. It doesn't have to be that way, but it is for him because that's the way he wants it.

    EDIT: And, oh yeah, he has time for a steady girlfriend too. My favorite thing I hear her say from time to time is "You know, civilians are people too!" :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  11. Seawings18

    Seawings18 Member

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    Two last questions I promise! Do you know how you could find another 4/C Midshipman to room with your freshman year? And on a separate note, I am missing an art credit, which is a requirement for admission to SC. I could do a credit online it would just take a lot of logistics this late in my high school career (my counselors and registrars are pretty strict on class changes a month into school). Do you think this would prevent me from gaining admission? (I will have taken 9 AP's by graduation, 1340 SAT, good extracurriculars, etc.)
     
  12. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Afraid I can't be too much help with those. You could perhaps try to find someone through housing or perhaps through the unit. I don't think rooming with someone who is also in ROTC is particularly beneficial but there is nothing wrong with it either. DS's roommate freshman year was non-ROTC and it worked out fine perhaps because his roommate was coming in when he was leaving for PT. He did get an apartment with 2 NROTC guys after freshman year, but one dropped over the summer and the other dropped in September of sophomore year. He still rooms with them and they are his very best friends though.

    If they require art, and you want to go there, then find some way to take an art course. Also, find out how broadly they define art. For example, if you participate in some drama club in or out of school, that may satisfy their requirement. Your best bet on that question is to call admissions.

    BTW, I'm always happy to answer NROTC questions or questions specifically regarding the Gamecock Battalion. Helps me feel like I'm connected with my son! So, thanks for the opportunity! :thumb:
     

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