ROTC primer for parents?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by jbm02, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. jbm02

    jbm02 Member

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    So proud that DS has been awarded an AROTC scholarship. But as parents, we're woefully ignorant about ROTC. We understand the general requirements but the nuances -the importance of those APFT scores, etc- illustrates so much we don't know. We've read thru lots of the posts here and am trying to piece together all the information contained on the various threads here. Is there a link to an archived thread with general information we should know?
     
  2. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    The bad new is that no, there isn't a thread about what parents need to know as AROTC parents. Right now you should make sure they have their medical records for DoDMERB processing (although once they turn 18, it becomes their issue - welcome to the world of HIPAA.

    The good news is that there really isn't that much you should know going in. Really, it is up to the cadet to show up, take notes and execute. This is their chance (and responsibility) to do it on their own once they show up on campus.

    This MS3 parent's experience is with regards to the AROTC experience is that I had an hour to kill during freshman orientation while my daughter was taking a subject placement test, so I stopped down at the ROTC office, met the sergeant, asked a couple questions specific to her athletic participation and PT scheduling (which she also asked later IIRC) and haven't had any interaction with the unit since. She has educated me about how things work, prompted me to provide her necessary documents (birth certificate, SS card, updated immunization paperwork we store, etc).

    I know as the parent of a HS student, you have gotten quite used to having to do a lot to get your kids set up for whatever activity they participate in. And in college, there are parents who hover in their helicopters, but by and large cadets get very annoyed if parental units hover anywhere near ROTC activities. If you live in the area, come out to the the annual awards dinner and commissioning ceremonies, but otherwise, your presence is probably not appreciated.

    Sounds kind of harsh, but really that is how things work. Sit back and enjoy their independence!
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Goaliedad is right, as usual, But what you can do is provide encouragement, especially over the summer. Make sure your DS is working out. The money won't start flowing until he passes the PFT which he should take shortly after his arrival (first couple weeks). Aside from that it's normal parenting... the stuff you would do whether your kid was in ROTC or not... questions on grades, how he's doing etc. The unit will want him to be successful. Encourage him to seek help if he needs it academically or otherwise, other than that, it's just normal encouragement if needed. Enjoy the ride. ROTC is very rewarding and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the positive growth you'll see.
     
  4. jbm02

    jbm02 Member

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    Thanks for the responses. Our concerns come from the "not knowing" - we understand typical college experiences and don't plan to hover. We're just trying to get an idea of how our DS' experience will differ from our own college experiences so that we can provide whatever support he needs. In some of the posts, I've seen discussion about summer requirements, etc. What is typical with each year?
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Even as a parent that is married to a now retired O5 AF officer, and 20 yrs as that spouse, there was still a steep learning curve for us too.

    Bullet was an AFROTC grad...but 20 yrs between his commissioning and our DS entering a lot changed so we were like any other parent.

    I was not a hover parent. I basically asked all of my questions here for the 1st yr so I could learn from the experienced posters. I did this because for 20 yrs Bullet's mom would frustrate him due to the fact she never took the time to learn about his life, and he was constantly re-teaching her about why, and how things work. She loved him dearly, and let's be honest there was no internet in her life until about 2000. I had decided I was not going to be that type of Mom.

    For the most part this site answered every question I would have asked DS. The answers they couldn't give me, well, at least I had the basis of information so when I asked him anything, I could follow what he was saying.

    This site also was my savior when he was going up for boards. Posters here understood the stress level as a parent, and it made it easier to be supportive for him because my stress level was lower from the support system I found here.
     
  6. nofodad

    nofodad Member

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    Primer

    Relax, your DS or DD will figure it out. And as mentioned before, the leadership of the unit wants your child to succeed. When our DS gets discouraged by his lack of free time because of ROTC commitments, we remind him that most kids "just got to college." It's difficult to get up at 0500for pt and even more difficult when you're the only one in a dorm of 600 that is stirring and there are three kids in the lounge sleeping off last night's binge. Our DS' battalion assigns all MSIs a mentor that changes second semester, both were MS4s. Their guidance was invaluable, they really showed him the ropes and also made sure that he stayed on track scholastically. As the father of a DS who does not always live in the "details" it was hard for me to let go-but he's really grown, he's had a very successful first year and has surprised us with his maturity-my guess is you'll have a similar experience.
     
  7. jbm02

    jbm02 Member

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    Pima, thank you!!
     
  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I've been trying to think of things, outside of the ordinary day-to-day, that might (unpleasantly?) surprise you during your son's time with his unit. None of these things are meant to scare you and they certainly don't happen to every or even most cadets, but they have come up on the forums or from my personal experience from time to time. They may not be within the realm of possibility for your son but I thought you might like to be aware of them.

    1. Your DS will need to maintain a minimum GPA to retain the scholarship. I think it varies with the service but he will know what it is. There are resources available at the school or at the unit to aid him if he needs tutoring etc. If he needs it he should take advantage of it. If he gets in trouble academically they will put him on mandatory study hours where he will need to show up during a given time period at the unit for x study hours per week. NROTC Navy Option requires calculus and physics and has its own tutors in these subjects to aid those who are having difficulties. The unit will do all it can to help your son to be successful whether it be NROTC, AROTC, or AFROTC.

    2. Your DS will need to keep his nose clean. If he's going to drink (and what college kid doesn't from time to time) he better not get caught. Definitely no DUIs etc. or he's out. He might survive being caught drinking once. One freshman in DS's unit showed up (still) drunk to PT one morning. He was out of the unit the next day.

    3. Punctuality is more than a virtue. It is required. My DS lost his chance at a scholarship his freshman year because he (unwittingly?) turned in his scholarship application 1 day late.

    4. DS will need to keep the unit informed of his whereabouts. I recall a freshman on this forum who was sick for a week, never went to the infirmary to document it, and never made anyone aware he was not going to be at PT etc. He was gone in a flash.

    5. Requirements are requirements. I recall a forum participant's DS who failed to meet height/weight requirements his senior year and was dropped. They're now repaying what was a massive amount of scholarship money.

    Again, these are not to scare you. These things are all rare. My DS, and almost all cadets and midshipmen love the xROTC experience. It's demanding and also rewarding. My son's best friends are, or were and voluntarily dropped, in NROTC. NROTC is the center of my son's life and despite (or perhaps because of) some screw-ups early on he has matured and is now on the straight and narrow. I actually no longer worry about him being successful in college or getting into trouble. He's a model student and person and has been selected as one of the college's handful of freshman orientation leaders for this summer. He has exceeded even my wildest hopes and dreams for him and there is no doubt in my mind it is all due to NROTC bringing out and developing the native abilities he had but never exploited beforehand.

    Enjoy the ride. Nothing better!
     

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