Life in Texas A&M Corps of Cadet

99charles

New Member
I was just awarded an Army scholarship to TAMU and I have no real idea of what life is like in the Corps of Cadets. I have a few questions: Is it a full time commitment where you wear the uniform everywhere and everyday? Is their time for other things such as fraternities and intermurals? Can you go places off campus on the weekends? Is it possible to make friendships with people at TAMU outside of the Corps? Also is the ROTC program at TAMU really one of the biggest and greatest in the nation?
 

DrMom

5-Year Member
Dear 99Charles, you might wish to spend a little time looking at the Corps of Cadets webpages and the ROTC pages for Texas A & M.
 

Lawman32RPD

5-Year Member
Your post asked a number of questions. I’ll offer my take on ‘em as a Dad of two Aggie cadets, one now a dead zip (graduated) and one a butt now (junior) and make a series of observations:

First, the advice you got from Dr. Mom is spot on – you should do your own due diligence.

Second, go spend the night with the Corps, or at the very least, go and spend some time on the campus, go talk to Cadets. They are easy to spot – they are the ones in uniform. Seriously, get thee to the campus and learn from the horse's mouth - see if is a good fit for you.

Third, there are many paths to the top of the mountain. That is my pithy way of saying no one school or program is right for everyone, and no one school is the be-all and end-all and if you don’t attend that particular school life and civilization are pretty much over. There are upsides to attending TAMU and some challenges too. That said, it has worked out well for my dead zip and my butt and I recommend it.

Your questions:

[1] Is it a full time commitment where you wear the uniform everywhere and everyday?

> To use part of an Aggie-ism (and with the caveat that I didn’t attend A&M and my information is based on being a Corps parent since 2011) Boy HOWDY (Aggies say Howdy a lot) is it a full-time commitment, especially your first couple of years. You will be up around 0545 each and just about every workday (Monday through Friday). In and of itself that is a commitment. By 0700 or thereabouts you’ll be dressed, in formation, and march into breakfast. Yes, you’ll be in uniform when in any academic building, even on the weekends. This includes, as I understand it, the Memorial Student Center (MSC) – which is the name of what folks of my generation would have called the Student Union or something like that. You don’t wear a uniform if going off-campus, going to the gym, in your room studying, etc. That said, you should really, as Dr. Mom said, talk to the people there. Lunch is on your own. You'll have some afternoon commitments and then in uniform you'll have formation and march into dinner. There are also football games and other events when you’ll wear your uniform, and you’ll have other time commitments as well.

[2] Is their time for other things such as fraternities and intermurals?

> Depends on the outfit you are in, your major, your stamina. Many if not most of the outfits have intramural teams in a variety of sports. The Corps also has a baseball and basketball team, perhaps other teams as well, that play both on and off campus. As for the fraternities, I think I recall it being done, but probably not well. You have to live on campus in Corps dorms at A&M in the Corps, and there are a lot of time commitments – there really wouldn’t be a huge amount of time to hang with your frat brothers too.

[3] Can you go places off campus on the weekends?

> To some extent yes. You can have car. There are some open weekends, but not huge number, and those are more rare in the fall with home football games taking up time. Remember, you’ll also have some ROTC weekend commitments as well, particularly if you are on scholarship or contracted as it were. But yes, there is time to go off campus and out of uniform – but most folks will know you are in the Corps from the haircut and the way you act, folks with you, etc.

[4] Is it possible to make friendships with people at TAMU outside of the Corps?

> Yes, but it is a bit challenging at times. Easier as you get more used to college, used to the Corps lifestyle, have more time for university activities, etc. Many cadets do many things with the “non-regs” in classes and activities (there are 800 clubs and such for the 50,000+ undergraduates). Some cadets are active in other university student government or related types of organizations. That said, it is hard, and your free time will depend on your grades, your stamina, your major, your outfit, etc.

[5] Also is the ROTC program at TAMU really one of the biggest and greatest in the nation?

> The ROTC curriculum is set by the Department of Defense, you will cover the same information regardless of where you are. That said, and meaning no disrespect to any other Senior Military College or ROTC program, this is what the Commandant wrote at the end of the year in May, 2016:

ROTC Programs

Our Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine ROTC programs work hard year-round to guarantee that those cadets seeking a commission receive the best training possible for their path to commission. This year, our outstanding ROTC Programs achieved some significant honors and accomplishments:

ARMY

•The Army ROTC Ranger Challenge Team placed first out of all Army ROTC teams in the nation and seventh out of 58 teams competing internationally at the prestigious Sandhurst competition held at the United States Military Academy. This marks the third consecutive first place finish for Texas A&M Army ROTC, and the third top seven finish after placing fourth last year at the Sandhurst Competition.

•Army ROTC is on pace to commission up to 95 2LTs this year with 19 Cadets distinguishing themselves as Distinguished Military Graduates and 97% of Cadets earning one of their top three Military Specialties of choice.

•249 cadre and cadets will participate in Army summer training this year. Over 20 cadets were selected for highly competitive military schools such as the Special Forces Combat Dive School, Airborne & Air Assault School, as well as acting as platoon leaders in active duty Army units throughout the United States, the Pacific, and Europe. 29 cadets were selected for language and training immersion experiences abroad in over 10 different countries. 10 Cadets were selected for prestigious internships through U.S. Army Cadet Command in various organizations, to include the Corps of Engineers, National Security Agency, and Army Medical Command. Over 40 cadets will attend basic and advanced military training at Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Leonard Wood Missouri and Fort Jackson South Carolina this summer.

•Cadet Daniel Stevenson ’16 received the George C. Marshall Award as the outstanding Army ROTC cadet of the year at the Army Cadet Command George C. Marshall Awards & Leadership Seminar, hosted at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.

•The Army ROTC program’s commitment to academic achievement remains steadfast with back to back semesters of their cadets posting above a 3.0 GPA – well ahead of the university average.

AIR FORCE

•Air Force ROTC commissioned 45 officers in Fiscal Year 2015, the most of any of the 145 AFROTC Detachments in the nation.

•For the second straight year, 100 % of the cadets nominated (58 of 58) were selected to attend Air Force Summer Field Training. There were 6 Distinguished Graduates/6 Superior Performers at 2015 Field Training.

•Texas A&M Air Force ROTC cadets achieved a 100% selection rate for rated categorization (Pilot, Combat Systems Officer, Air Battle Manager, Remotely Piloted Aircraft).

•The entire Air Force ROTC cadet wing, 500+ cadets, posted a 3.01 Term GPA, with approximately 60% of cadets in STEM majors; Senior AFROTC cadets earned an average GPA of 3.39.

•11 cadets were hired for engineering research as part of a national research program with visibility at the highest levels of the U.S. government. One cadet each was chosen for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) internship, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory internship, and Advanced Course in Engineering internship.

•Texas A&M Air Force ROTC Detachment 805 was named the Best Detachment in the US Southwest Region for the second straight year and was also named the #1 AFROTC Detachment among all AFROTC Detachments nation-wide for 2015.

•Several AFROTC cadets were selected for key leadership positions in the Corps next year: Corps Commander; Aggie Band Commander; 2 of 3 Major Unit Commanders; and 6 of 13 Outfit Commanders.

NAVY/MARINE

•Texas A&M NROTC will commission 41 US Navy Ensigns and US Marine Corps Second Lieutenants in Fiscal Year 2016.

•Texas A&M NROTC exceeded the Naval Service Training Command nuclear accession quota for the second year in a row, boasting six nuclear officers and a 100% pass rate during the nuclear propulsion interview for all qualified candidates.

•Texas A&M NROTC is sending 86 Midshipmen on summer 2016 training, including US Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training, US Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, and US Navy ships and shore facilities worldwide.

•NROTC Battalion scholarship students posted a fall 2015 semester GPA of 3.13.

•Naval Service Training Command selected Texas A&M NROTC’s Senior Enlisted Leader, MSgt Victor Ortiz, as the ‘2015 Marine of the Year’ among 74 highly-competitive NROTC Units nationwide.
 
Son did the Spend the Night with the Corps program. Great opportunity to visit and see firsthand what the Corps experience entails. Texas A&M is son's Plan B but he is undecided whether to do Afrotc or Nrotc there.
 
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