Question about commissioning

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by wisbang35, May 7, 2014.

  1. wisbang35

    wisbang35 wisbang35

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    I have been reading faithfully, several times a day, for a while now, and thought I had this all straight. However, I just read something on the USMA forum that has me confused.

    I read that cadets at the SMC's are guaranteed a commission (provided they meet the qualifications, of course). I was thinking that there was no guarantee, that it depended upon performance in ROTC, and only a certain amount on the OML (depending on the needs of the military that year) would receive commissions.

    But, I'm thinking now, that it must be only ROTC at regular colleges that aren't guaranteed a commission? Can anyone clarify for me, or direct me to the information? My son wants to attend UNG, and I frankly, have been stressed about whether he was guaranteed a commission or not.
     
  2. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    Do you mean guaranteed a commission or guaranteed Active Duty? Theoretically, cadets at SMCs (UNG included) are guaranteed an active duty slot if they want one. Cadets at normal colleges have to compete for active duty slots, the rest get reserves.
     
  3. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    All Army ROTC cadets that compete the 4 years are guaranteed a commission whether they attend a SMC or Civilian University.

    The issue is Active Duty, SMC ROTC cadets are guaranteed Active Duty as long as they complete the program and receive the recommendation from the PMS. Civilian University ROTC cadets (Army) need to be high enough on the OML at the end of their Junior year and completion of LDAC to make the Active Duty cutoff. Cadets that don't make this mark still receive their commission though it will be in the Reserves or National Guard.

    The Army decides each year how many Active Duty 2LT's they need, when they arrive at that number, that becomes the AD cutoff, anyone below that number receives Reserves or NG. The numbers change each year.

    It is important to remember that many cadets choose the Reserves or NG upfront, so when you see numbers that 40% went Reserves or NG, a large number of them selected that route ahead of time.
     
  4. wisbang35

    wisbang35 wisbang35

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    Thanks jcleppe, I did mean active duty! I believe I knew this a while back, that SMC's were guaranteed active duty, but there have been so few new posts on the SMC forum, that I have been reading a lot on the ROTC forum. This is where my mind got jumbled up.

    I have been rather stressed about this lately, thinking my son may have to change his major, in case he didn't get active duty. Change his major to something he wanted to do as a civilian career while being in the reserve. I feel relief to get my thoughts straightened around to the fact that he should be able to make a career of the military through active duty after attending UNG.

    I appreciate your knowledge jcleppe! I enjoy reading your input on the goarmy Ask a Soldier forum as well.
     
  5. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Somewhat unrelated and certainly unsolicited.....BUT....I think that anyone joining the military should also consider what they would do if their military career doesn't last 20 years or what they would do for a second career after 20 years in the military. You never know what might happen in the future....
     
  6. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    I agree, just because you can get AD guaranteed with a underwater basket weaving degree doesn't mean you should. People get so wrapped up in getting AD so they can have a full time job they don't look at the big picture. I'm a 2LT in the reserves (erm basically 1LT) and I make more money than AD CPTs in my civvy career. Part time is not always a kiss of death, you can still have a great military tenure. Any way you go should be a benefit to yourself and the Army. Don't think too much into war gaming how you can scratch your way to AD.

    That's my unsolicited advice.
     
  7. wisbang35

    wisbang35 wisbang35

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    I appreciate the unsolicited advice with one exception noted at the end. To clarify what I meant about my son possibly changing his major if he wasn't guaranteed active duty: he is only a sophomore in high school. He is thinking about a degree from UNG in History, as it contains the military science courses the school offers. There is no straight Military Science degree. In thinking that there was the possibility that he might not be able to get active duty, I don't know that he would want to pursue the history degree, because he doesn't want to be a teacher. He would probably major in Biology, with the intent to become a Physician Assistant in the civilian world and be successful in the NG or AR.

    I'll keep my thoughts on your underwater basket weaving degree and scratching his way to active duty comments to myself. You know nothing about my son, his accomplishments or his potential. He doesn't want active duty to have a full time job. He wants active duty because he wants to be an officer in the United States military.

    As I said before, he is just a sophomore. We are learning and asking advice as often as possible. I thought that was what this forum was for.
     
  8. Thompson

    Thompson Member

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    My personal advice - have your son major in something he likes -- specifically something he can see himself doing in the event a) he doesn't get AD or b) he doesn't want AD.

    And as Aglahad pointed out - you can still be in the NG or Reserve and an officer at the same time.

    Just stress to your son of the idea of keeping an open mind while in college (don't tunnel vision).

    I know I came into ROTC this past fall fully bent on going AD. But as my interest in my major grew (firearms engineering), I sort of came to the conclusion that, if I could secure a job with someone say Magpul, BCM, or Haley Strategic (etc etc) by the time I graduate ... I might just go Guard/Reserve and spend X years there ... I would definitely be making more money than most in the Military then.

    Also, one thing I didn't quite see anyone mention is ADSO'ing. It's another way to boost your chances of getting AD. ADSO stands for Active Duty Service Obligation - in essence you add an ... additional 3 years (I think) to your years in Service for something that you want (ie: post location, branch).

    Furthermore, there's also BRADSO - Branch Active Duty Service Obligation. As the name implies, you extend your time in the Army for a particular branch, however this does not exist for all branches --> such as combat arms branches (ie: Infantry, Armor, Aviation). This only exists for specific branches such as Signal Corps, Chemical Corps, Corps of Engineers ... and a few others I can't think of off the top of my head. There are also several prerequisites; 1. you have to have (I think) at least a 2.75 GPA, and have a major that similarly aligns with the branch. Easy example, engineering major --> Corps of Engineer. Conversely, you can't be an engineering major and BRADSO Signal Corps.

    ... however with all good things, nothing lasts forever. I'm not sure how long the BRADSO program will be kept ... there's already been talk about massive overhaul of the OML model for FY15 .... at least that's what I keep hearing the MS4's say.

    Just some things to also consider. Best wishes to your son in the fall!
     
  9. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    Thompson - you can ADSO for any branch, including Infantry, Armor, etc. The program you're thinking of was new in '14 and set aside a number of slots in certain branches for certain majors. That is separate from the straight Branch ADSO.
     
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Wow! I certainly didn't read these posts as anyone attacking your son. I think they were general comments about issues that most students in ROTC face since GPA is part of how they are ranked.

    I think the main point being made in this thread is that one should major in whatever they WANT to major in and not to base their major on the prospect of going into the military.

    1. Many fine cadets do NOT make the AD cut due to the needs (or lack thereof) of the Army.

    2. Even if one makes the AD cut their military career will come to an end at some point, whether it's 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years. Even if they make it to 20 they will still be looking for something to do in the private sector after they leave.

    3. Most of the time your major has little or nothing to do with what one does in the service.

    So, one should major in what one enjoys, finds useful economically, and can excel at.

    Before ruling out history, there are other things one can do with a history degree besides teach. In addition to learning the historical stuff, one also learns to write, communicate, and make a point (lot's of papers), and more importantly how to do research. These are skills that are useful in many jobs besides teaching. Many people go on to law degrees after earning a history BA. My point isn't that he should stick with history. Heck he's a sophomore and will no doubt change his mind between now and when it matters. But if he has a love of history he should look a little more into what one can do with a history degree.

    One final point. If one has a ROTC, NROTC, or AFROTC scholarship, one should settle on a major by the time they apply for the scholarship. All the services require that you get permission before changing your major. NROTC Navy and Nursing options and AFROTC are pretty stringent about requiring the major to be in the same/similar grouping of majors. Army and Marine options are less concerned at present but permission is still required and in any case you must still be able to graduate in 4 years (as a rule of thumb.... there are exceptions).

    Stick around and ask all the questions you want... you're right.... that's what this forum is for.
     
  11. Thompson

    Thompson Member

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    Wait ... I'm pretty sure that's what I said Jcc
     
  12. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Thompson, your a bit confused with the ADSO's.

    You cannot simply ADSO for Active Duty, under the new program a cadet can ADSO for certain branches if they have the matching major. This allows the cadet to get Active Duty even if they fall below the AD cutoff as long as they have a 2.75 GPA and list the branch as their first choice along with the ADSO. This is the only ADSO that will help get AD, if you do not meet these requirements then you cannot ADSO for AD.

    Any cadet can ADSO for any branch as Jcc123 stated, your major makes no difference as long as you make the AD Cutoff.
     
  13. Thompson

    Thompson Member

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    ... so what's the BRADSO thing I see from the FY OML's? Because there's slides that list specific majors to specific branches. Is that discontinued now?
     
  14. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    I think your response to Aglahad was a little harsh. I believe this forum is a good place to ask advice and to learn and I also think that is what Aglahad was attempting to accomplish. He was sharing HIS opinion and experience....not evaluating or judging your son.

    I don't know anything about your son either.....except that he is a sophomore in HS and a LONG way from being a 2nd LT....either AD or reserves. What are the chances that he'll change his mind about the Army or going AD between now and college graduation? Will he pass DoDMERB? Will he get hurt or otherwise disqualified between now and commissioning? Will the Army cut back even more than it's current projected reductions of officers before your son graduates from college? What percentage of HS sophomores that THINK they want to be career officers actually spend 20+ years in the Army?

    I believe the advice you have been given is presented with good intentions. Perhaps you should accept it graciously and not look to find fault with those that are attempting to help you. JMPO...
     
  15. mbitr

    mbitr Member

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    Kinnem hit on it best, but here's my experience as a basket diver. My major was in one the liberal arts fields. I chose it because I enjoyed it and I knew I would do well in it. My end goal was becoming an active duty officer, so it fulfilled my needs at the time. I wasn't looking forward to searching for a job if I didn't make the cut, but because I enjoyed my studies and did well, I made it. If I chose a major that had more practical value but was more challenging or less enjoyable, I don't know if I would have had the same academic success. So that piece of paper which doesn't qualify me with a tangible skillset was worth every penny.

    My plans for grad school are very different. If and when I begin, I intend to get a Masters in a field that has a practical application. The Army doesn't last forever. If being an active duty officer is your son's 50 meter target, then he should pursue the path he believes he can excel at. Worry about other goals down the line.
     
  16. wisbang35

    wisbang35 wisbang35

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    I apologize if I misunderstood. The comments just struck me as something I have seen on goarmy.com Ask a Soldier. Many times the answers given to people say things like this is not a video game, this is real life and death. When we asked our son, when he was 15, if he was willing to give his life in service to his country, and he said he was, we knew this was something he wanted to commit to.

    I certainly know that so much can change between now and high school graduation, but I am one who really likes to look into whatever my kids are interested in, so I can help them in any way necessary.

    You are all very knowledgeable and helpful. I look forward to getting on here and learning every day.
     
  17. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    I think you misunderstood my intent. I have been on this forum for a while now and have seen this question many a time. There is nothing wrong with wanting to go active duty as that was my plan up until the last month or two before commissioning when I opted out of my AD slot. All I am saying is to prepare for life after the military which means to major in something that you enjoy and is applicable to the civvy world. Military science/history don't often fit that bill unless you want to teach. Always prepare for different scenarios. This is the calling card of being an officer especially if you work in the training/S-3 section...haha

    As for the physician assistant career I am actually in the process of applying for both PA and MD school right NOW. I work with PAs every day and the vast majority of them had thousands of hours of healthcare experience before going to PA school. In fact the PA profession was based off of experienced medics getting more training via the military to become providers. Today the vast majority of PAs were prior RTs, RNS, paramedics or some other allied HC professional. Going straight BS/Biology is not an ideal path for a PA but it does work if you want to become a doctor. Most PA schools have a minimum healthcare experience hour mark to be competitive which most college grads just do not meet.

    In short: Prior healthcare experience= Go PA or MD if you have the time
    No healthcare experience= Go MD
     
  18. cajuncarrier

    cajuncarrier Member

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    Has anyone ever gone from Reserves to Active Duty? I'm not talking about deployment or times of war. Just for someone who received Reserves but pushed for Active. I guess what I'm asking is if there were circumstances where reservists switched to active.
     
  19. ABF

    ABF Member

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    It isn't easy. When it does happen, it's more like a NG officer that finishes grad / medical / law school and go on to active duty as a JAG, RN, Dentist, MD or something like that. There was also, back in the day, a program where the top students at their basic course got an offer of active duty if they were RC soldeirs.

    That being said... Every reserve component unit has several soldiers and officers that are full time reservists. The Army Reserve and NG has a program where they can put you on full time orders for four years at a time to administratively support the reserve unit. (After all, the unit can't run with people only showing up one weekend per month!) There is plenty of work to do M-F, and those Active Gaurd / Reserve (AGR) soldiers keep the machine running througout the month. Most AGR soldiers and officers string five or more of those tours together and retire as 'full timers" with regular retirement benefits. And, if they plan it right, they can stay generally in the same area for all twenty years of their military career and not have to drag a family all over the globe.
     
  20. wisbang35

    wisbang35 wisbang35

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    As I said Aglahad, I apologize. Just a mama bear protecting her cub. I guess I really didn't understand your statement, and it came off to me that he was just another kid, thinking he was going to take an easy major and he was going to be great in the army because he played video games. It's a stretch, I know, but that's how I read it.

    I have received a lot of great advice to my question, which is exactly what I was hoping for! Thank you all!
     

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