SMP Active Duty Option?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Kyguardmom, May 15, 2015.

  1. Kyguardmom

    Kyguardmom Member

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    Hi all - first time poster here, with lots of questions on all things military and hoping for some enlightenment.

    So, my son is a junior in high school, and has just enlisted in the National Guard, with the intent of attending college as a SMP cadet. He attends Basic Training this June, then plans to do his Advanced Training the summer between senior year and start of college. Training period for his MOS (Field Artillery 13D) is 7 weeks - so it looks like starting college on time would be do-able.

    He decided on this path because we've heard that ROTC scholarships are so competitive. His GPA is 3.1 and ACT 26. He did Track and Field in 9th grade, but no other sports. However, he is an Eagle Scout and Red Cross Certified Life Guard - working as life guard since he was 15 years old. His ASVAB score was 92. His National Guard recruiter said he thinks my son is a great candidate for SMP.

    So, to some questions I'm hoping to get some help with.... I'm wondering about possibility of SMP cadet going active duty? I have gotten assurances that it is possible, but not possible if he accepts the GRFD scholarship. I'm wondering why he would even apply for that - since it pays tuition and some stipends. Since he's enlisted, and will have completed BCT/AIT before start of college, he's already eligible for full tuition assistance with the GI bill. Are there other benefits to GRFD I'm not aware of?

    Also, having gone through MEPS, I'm wondering if he would still have to medically qualify with DodMERB as part of ROTC?

    Sorry to be so long-winded! Our family has very little previous military experience, so I'm trying to get up to speed in this strange new world!!! Thanks in advance.
     
  2. cadetlax14

    cadetlax14 New Member

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    Since has has already joined the guard if he does ROTC he can sign an SMP agreement, when he is in college he will get the GI Bill and the GI kicker since he is completing basic and ait. He will also be able to use tuition assistance, and this is the best route if he wants active duty. Since he is national guard he cannot apply for a National otherwise known as line ROTC scholarship, but again there is no need since his tuition will be covered. Also the GRFD will pay for room and board and you can use the tuition assistance with that for tuition, however if you accept any GRFD money or DEDARNG scholarship money active duty is OFF the table. Personally from a cadets perspective who is just about in the same boat, I would say join ROTC and do SMP, if down the line he decides he wants to do the guard after commissioning then and only then would I think about the GRFD, otherwise he should try out the program for a year or two before he decides if he wants active or not. Any path is great, best of luck to your son!
     
  3. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    Yes, he will still need to DodMERB qualify before contracting.

    The rules change frequently with SMP cadets in regard to Active Duty, be prepared for either option so no nasty surprises throw your family.

    My DS was SMP with Ohio Guard and never was tempted to GRFD. He used tuition assistance without ever attending AIT. He wants to save any GI bill benefits for future education. Once contracted your DS would be eligible for the stipend, no books allowance.

    Which university/s is he looking to attend? This will have a big impact on his ability to contract, no contract - no SMP.... typically he cannot contract until Fall semester of Sophomore year. Each school will have a limited number of contracts and it will be very competitive to earn one. The number of contracts will probably decrease each school year as long as the drawn down continues.

    Start talking to universities he's interested in while making your college visits, the ROO at each school could be a very important part of his future. Good luck.
     
  4. Kyguardmom

    Kyguardmom Member

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    Cadetlax and Ohio2015 - thanks so much for your responses.

    I didn't realize GRFD can pay room and board - that is significant. Also, I think I'm getting Tuition Assistance and GI Bill confused. In Kentucky, National Guard receive Tuition Assistance if attending a state university. Is that different from GI Bill benefit?

    Ohio2015 - we have visited the ROTC at University of Kentucky. However, there is strong encouragement for my son to look to attend Morehead University. His Guard unit is closely connected to Morehead. His unit drills there, and has a recruitment office on the premises. That said, Morehead was one of the ROTC programs selected to be eliminated by this year, but was saved by intervention of our governor and Senator Mitch McConnell. So I'm not sure what to think about that.
     
  5. mbitr

    mbitr Member

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    So think of a recruiter as a salesman. In reality, your recruiter has nothing to do with determining who is or isn't a "great candidate for SMP." The recruiter is there to put men and women in the National Guard. They happen to work closely with university ROTC programs because there are plenty of highly qualified, service-minded young adults signing up for ROTC. Of those young adults, not all of them who join the National Guard will commission. Not all of them will even get an SMP contract.

    If your son joins the National Guard and fails to commission or even get a contract, he will remain an enlisted soldier in the National Guard. He will be a 13D two days a month, two weeks in a year for at least six years. He will not be able to just walk back in to a recruiter's office and join the regular Amy. There is a process to transfer to active duty, but it has become increasingly difficult to do because the Army is downsizing and doesn't need prior service applicants.

    He needs to reach out to the Recruiting Operations Officer from the ROTC battalion if he hasn't done so already. This is the person that can best advise him on his potential for a contract.
     
  6. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    He should still apply for the scholarship. If he gets an offer he can request release from his unit to accept the offer. His stats are competitive, despite what you've been told. In fact I'll bet the recruiter probably told you how competitive it is, so he could sell SMP.

    The biggest thing to remember, as mentioned above, is that until he is contracted he is not SMP. He cannot get contracted until sophomore year at the earliest.

    With regards to DODMERB. His MEPS physical can be used to get him qualifed to contract SMP. It will have a big "SMP" stamp on it, and if he wants to compete for a scholarship or a regular contract he'll have to take a DODMERB physical.
     
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  7. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    He should've joined as a 13F or 13B, 13D is boring.

    Best of luck to him, he'll have fun at Ft Sill.
     
  8. Kyguardmom

    Kyguardmom Member

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    Thanks for the additional responses.

    Clarksonarmy - are you saying my son should still apply for a ROTC scholarship? I thought that was mutually exclusive if one was enlisted and/or SMP cadet? (And yes, I'm aware SMP is also a competitive process. Also aware my son is deployable after he completes AIT until if/when he contracts ROTC/SMP.)

    mbitr - I hope I haven't been too naïve regarding my son's recruiter. I was actually the one who contacted him, not vice versa, after learning about SMP. This was after we met with the ROO at UK. So I already knew scholarships were very competitive. Anyway, the recruiter lives down the road from us, and works out of unit my son is now assigned to. He told us that he would continue to be involved ie... keeping an eye on my son during drills, senior year etc, which I'm thinking isn't generally the case? Or he's feeding us a line of BS? But definitely need to get with the ROO at Morehead as well.

    Bull - haha... I hope for DS sake that 13D isn't too boring. He's psyched about it and about getting a secret security clearance for that MOS. Don't know about Ft Sill, but Ft Benning, GA during July and August for Basic should be awesome fun. Not!

    Thanks again for the helpful responses. Although I've tried to do my due diligence, I'm finding that understanding the military is like peeling an onion! lol! I appreciate you sharing your experiences.
     
  9. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    That's odd they have him going to basic training at Benning and not Sill since his AIT will be here. If he's into the computer stuff he'll like being a 13D since that's everything he'll be doing. AFATDS can do some pretty neat stuff and makes my life a lot easier lol
     
  10. mbitr

    mbitr Member

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    No, there's nothing out of the ordinary with that. It's common for recruiters to work out of the school and work closely with the SMP kids during if that state lets them drill with the university. But his job begins and ends with your son enlisting and completing Basic and AIT. He is not an officer recruiter. He is there to sell the National Guard to kids like your son. There's nothing wrong with that if you understand and are comfortable with the fact that if you fail to commission, active duty enlisted service is off the table.
     
  11. Kyguardmom

    Kyguardmom Member

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    Bull - I didn't realize doing Basic/AIT at different places was unusual. I'd venture to guess the reason is he's doing split-option and Ft Benning had an opening for Basic and Ft Sill did not. And yes, he does like computers. Xbox counts, right? :)

    mbitr - yes, understood, and thanks for your insight. Hopefully there will be an option for active duty thru SMP/ROTC, but clearly nothing is guaranteed and he's at the beginning of a long process. We are very clear that for now, he is first and foremost a member of the National Guard. Anything else depends on his efforts and which way the military's wind is blowing.
     
  12. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    It's not for most MOS's, but since Sill is one of the 4 places that has basic training I would've figured he would do both here, but I'm far from knowledgeable on how BCT scheduling works. Him being split option may be the answer, just getting him to a BCT at the earliest date to not mess up school. Yea, Xbox counts, except his xbox controller can't control the firepower that his AFATDS box will lol.
     
  13. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    I'm saying if your son is interested in a scholarship and would like the option of getting out of his Guard/Reserve obligation if he receives an offer then he should apply. As I said before, if he gets a scholarship offer he should be released from his enlisted obligation to accept the offer. I know that's what happens here.
     
  14. Kyguardmom

    Kyguardmom Member

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    Clarksonarmy - thank you for clarifying. I didn't realize this was a possibility and I will let my son know about it.

    However, I suspect he won't want to change course at this juncture. He completed his first drill over the weekend and is pretty fired up. He was the only high school junior there and held his own in PT. He also outranked the other newcomers because his Eagle enabled him to start at E2. Which he told me was NOT a good thing because it meant he was last in line for lunch. Priorities, right? lol! Seriously though, I'm very proud of him.

    Bull - so glad Xbox counts! What about Airsoft? And is AFATDS also called 'The Calculator"?
     
  15. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    Ha, he'll get more trigger time during air soft than he will as a 13D so yea it could help. I've never heard it called the calculator, but I'm also not an AFATDS operator or expert so I'm not real familiar with all of its slang.
     
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