Commissioning at VMI

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by C76706340, Feb 15, 2018.

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  1. C76706340

    C76706340 VMI 2022

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    Hello VMI community,

    I recently watched a VMI promotional video which discussed the opportunity given to VMI cadets to pursue and accept a commission should they be inclined to do so. However, the video did not state whether or not there existed competition to receive a commission. If you graduate from VMI without an ROTC scholarship, are you still guaranteed an active duty commission? Any feedback would be nice. Thanks.

    Sincerely,
    C76706340
     
  2. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator 5-Year Member

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    If you are in Army ROTC at any Senior Military College (including VMI), meet all the standards for graduation and are approved by the PMS, then Federal law assures the cadet of active duty.

    Air Force and Navy are normally assured of active duty at any ROTC program.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
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  3. C76706340

    C76706340 VMI 2022

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    Thanks, AROTC-dad.
     
  4. VMI2017+3

    VMI2017+3 Member

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    I’ll add for clarity that you still need to compete for a contract. Just meeting minimum qualifications and being a VMI cadet does not guarantee a commission. You have to compete for that contract. Realistically, for Army, the competition at VMI is not very hard, but it’s there.
     
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  5. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator 5-Year Member

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    +1 VMI2017+3
    I should have clarified contracted in Army ROTC.
     
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  6. 23Lt

    23Lt Member

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    Does being on an Army/Naval/Air Force ROTC scholarship play any role in commissioning?

    So for instance: I’m at VMI, in AFROTC there, NOT ON AFROTC SCHOLARSHIP, graduate satisfactorily, and get approved by the PMS, I will become Active Duty in the US Air Force?

    Thank you!
     
  7. VMI2017+3

    VMI2017+3 Member

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    First, the PMS approval for active duty rule only apples to Army. For all other branches, active duty is the only option anyway so the point is mute.

    Second, scholarships do effect commissioning. The way they affect that is a little different for Air Force than for the other branches. For the other a branches, a scholarship comes with the guarantee to commission given you don’t fall below standards. It reserves a slot for you, if you will; no more competing with anyone else to get a commissioning slot.
    For these other branches, when you approach 2nd class year (or sometimes later in the case of Army) you can compete just for a commissioning contract that does not have a scholarship attached, these are naturally less competitive. These contracts are very common in the Navy/Marine Corps since they don’t have as much scholarship funds as the Army.

    Now for Air Force, for Air Force, a scholarship contract is entirely separate from a contract to commission. The opportunities for scholarships are 4, 3.5, 3, and 2.5 year scholarships. All the scholarship does is pay for school. It does require you to enlist/swear in, because the Air Force doesn’t want you to bail, but it does not guarantee a commission. To commission, everyone (scholarship or not) will compete for an allocation to Field Training during summer after 3/c year (sophomore year), if you get it then, as long as you pass training, your unit must contract you when you return to school in the following fall. This is the mechanism to guarantee a commission (once again still dependent on you maintaining standards the entire time). Now realistically, if you’re on an Air Force scholarship, that money has been invested in you for a reason, it is unlikely that you won’t receive an allocation to field training. The only way I could see this happen is if someone had a scholarship awarded in high school, but ended up sucking in college. This allows the AF to filter people that shouldn’t have had a scholarship in the first place out, even if they technically still meet standards.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
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  8. 23Lt

    23Lt Member

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    Yes! This helps a ton! So if accepted to VMI with absolutely no ROTC scholarship, when would one decided which branch to commission in?
     
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  9. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    I believe you “decide” which Service you “intend” or want to commission with as a Rat. You can start with AF ROTC as a Rat. As long as you desire/intend to commission in the AF, you can stay with AF ROTC through at least your sophomore year I think. I think AF ROTC will assess you and will make you go through DoDMERB some time in your sophomore year. If you are assessed that you won’t be able to commission in the AF (either medical or some other criteria) you then spend your Final 2 years with the non-commissioning cadets and participate as part of Army ROTC. If your DoDMERB is good (either Qualified or DQ with a medical waiver) and you meet the other criteria, I think you can stay as part of AF ROTC your entire 4 years. Others will correct me where I have erred

    Recommend you contact the appropriate ROTC department at VMI with your questions. They will be happy to explain the nuances.
     
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  10. VMI2017+3

    VMI2017+3 Member

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    This can get nuanced between different branches and commissioning programs other than ROTC. You’re going to need to pick an ROTC affiliation immediately, but you have some time to switch. To look only at ROTC route, we’ll start with Navy/Marine Corps. For them, each of your first two summers you can compete for a scholarship for your remaining years, that also reserves a commissioning slot. For the second summer, if you don’t pick up that scholarship, you are automatically considered for “advanced standing” which is a commissioning slot w/o scholarship. If you don’t pick this up, then you won’t be commissioning in the Navy/MC via ROTC.

    Next Air Force, in general people get picked up for field training going into their second summer, but some people are selected for it after their 2/c year and I even know a few 1/c guys that are on a one year program but they had to have just switched to Air Force from another ROTC to be eligible, and it’s a small number. The vast majority are getting picked up during 3/c year with a smaller number getting picked up a year late for various reasons (such as injury). If you’re in Air Force and don’t get picked up by summer after 2/c year, you will not commission in the AF via ROTC.

    Now to Army, I am less familiar with Army. Army has a relatively large number of commissioning opportunities for people switching in late. To commission upon graduation I believe the latest you can switch would be second semester 2/c year, but it may be earlier than that. If you switch in past this cutoff, you can still contract, but you will need to attend training after graduation prior to commissioning. With Army, there are also some Nat. Guard specific options that may have their own timelines or other stipulations, I’m not sure.

    In summary, if you’re looking at Navy/MC, you need to be in that unit during 3/c year.

    If you’re looking at AF, then by 2/c year.

    Army, by 2nd semester 2/c year (someone can fact check me there) if you want to commission on time.

    There are a number of other commissioning programs (mainly PLC for the USMC is common) USMC, USN, and USCG as well. These have different timelines than ROTC.
     
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  11. Mid-distancemom

    Mid-distancemom Member

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    From my understanding, all students must participate in ROTC regardless of scholarship. The money is to help with tuition. It has nothing to do with commissioning. If you don't need the scholarship, there is no commitment to serve, but the option is still there.
     
  12. Landy91

    Landy91 Member

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    [/QUOTE]
    From my understanding, all students must participate in ROTC regardless of scholarship. The money is to help with tuition. It has nothing to do with commissioning. If you don't need the scholarship, there is no commitment to serve, but the option is still there.[/QUOTE]
    You are correct. Unlike any of the other SMCs, all VMI students are cadets. All VMI cadets, regardless of their initial intent to commission or not, are required to participate in ROTC for all 4 years. I imagine there are VMI graduates who go to VMI for the ring and the famous network not wanting a commission, but end up going into the military, and vice versa. It's all about options, and VMI gives all its students the option... with over 60% commissioning each year!