ROTC V. Active Duty

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by cmcdaniel59, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. cmcdaniel59

    cmcdaniel59 New Member

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    Hello, I received a 4 year Army ROTC scholarship and I'm in my first year right now, and i just have a lot of questions about the difference between ROTC and active duty. I don't mind the PT at all, I have no trouble getting up and the workouts could actually be harder imo. But i just get irritated and bored having to only learn about infantry tactics in class, and in labs we literally do squad movements every week for 2 hours, and i just find it pointless, bc i could learn it in just one lab, and i don't even want to branch combat. I just wanted some input on commissioning through ROTC v. OCS, because i think i can still drop out of ROTC before my MS2 year without having to pay the army back. Tuition really isn't that big of a deal, but when/if i got active duty is there like a tuition repayment program? I also have a 4.0 gpa, 300+ pt score, and am doing im sports and volunteering a lot, so i think i would be able to get OCS. sorry for this being so long and detailed, but i know active duty is completely different than ROTC, and before i came to ROTC i had the strongest desire to serve, and i think being in ROTC has kinda lessened that desire, as i'm not enjoying it at all. but i still want to serve my country, i just don't want to have to go through 4 years of ROTC hating it, then get to active duty all pissy.
     
  2. GoCubbies

    GoCubbies Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean by "ROTC vs Active Duty." Are you talking about getting a commission via ROTC vs OCS after graduating from college?

    You are correct. If you are on a 4-year AROTC scholarship, then you may leave after the first year without owing the government any money. You cannot attend even one ROTC class after freshman year. If you attend one class sophomore year, then you are fully committed to the program.

    Yes, ROTC is tedious. Patrolling sucks if you're not leading it because it's a bunch of walking in the woods, then facing outboard when the group halts, and then moving again. Advanced camp is more of the same. Your friends might have some fun plans on a weekend but your ROTC unit has an FTX planned. Lots of sacrifices go on for the government to pay your tuition and books and give you a nice monthly stipend.

    You may want to relook your desire to be an Army officer. There are MANY things you will have to do in the Army that you find pointless or you think you can learn in one iteration. Why do the instructors at airborne school make you do pull-ups every time you enter and exit the training area? May seem pointless, but as you go the course you'll find out later why it's important to build up your "pull-up muscles." You say you don't like squad movement lab because you're not wanting to branch in the combat arms. You never know. Granted, I am told the top 10% of ROTC OML get first choice, so you'll be assured of a non-combat arms branch if you do well. However, there will be many times in the Army you will learn things that you won't ever use again. Go to air assault school. You'll learn how to rig vehicles and other equipment so they can be sling loaded. When are you, as a Finance officer, for example, really going to be the person who sets up the equipment for sling load? They're going to let some high-speed NCO who knows what he/she is doing to that stuff.

    You hit it on the nose. You don't want to get on active duty all pissy. Your NCOs and young Soldiers will see that and your platoon will have a hard time completing its mission because they're looking at you to lead them.

    Rethink if you really want to be in the Army. While what you're doing in ROTC isn't the "real" Army, many of the reasons (e.g. doing several iterations of tasks when you think you've got it down cold, learning something you find pointless, etc) you don't like ROTC does happen in the Army all the time- albeit in a different manner.

    I don't know the numbers, but my gut feeling is that your chances of getting a commission are better going through ROTC (especially the fact you're on scholarship) than applying and getting accepted to OCS.
     
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  3. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    ^ This is absolutely spot on.

    I don't have the numbers either, but my understanding is the following:

    The US army's 2LT officer ranks are first filled by USMA, then by Army ROTC.....after that, IF there is still a shortage of the mission, OCS is used to "top off" what Army requires.
     
  4. Anguswarrior112

    Anguswarrior112 Member

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    One reason why you guys do infantry tactics so much is to get you ready for advanced camp. The advanced camp doctrine has changed and is more focused on infantry stuff. That is why they are focused on infantry tactics in lab, don’t forget you need do pass advanced camp to commission! Also, infantry tactics are fundamentals of the Army.
     
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  5. Anguswarrior112

    Anguswarrior112 Member

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    Also a side note, if you are contracted for Army Rotc now and leave, you will not be able to attend Army OCS.
     
  6. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    I appreciate the OP's honesty here.

    I agree that you may not be a good fit for the Army (maybe the military in general).

    Infantry tactics is not something you should "learn one time" in a lab and then be done. History has demonstrated repeatedly, times where non-combat units have been thrust into firefights when they least expect it. (like CAPT Ben L. Salomon, the WW-II Army dentist who manned a machine gun and killed 98 of the enemy, when his hospital was overrun. He posthumously won the Congressional Medal of Honor)*

    Infantry tactics are a core part of being a soldier. If it isn't for you, then it is good that you solve this issue early.

    I do recommend that you push yourself through the rest of your MS-I year, as your financial and service obligation does not begin until the beginning of your sophomore (MS-II) year. I also implore you to sit down with your military advisor and discuss your concerns. It is good to get this out in the open and address it before you get more miserable where it may affect your other grades.

    Good luck on your decision.

    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_L._Salomon
     
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  7. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    A few observations.

    The type of training you are doing in ROTC may focus on tactics but realize that it's more then that. The training involves learning how to manage and lead, write OPORDS and follow them, the logistics of putting training missions together. All of this is needed no matter what you branch in the Army. The Army has 16 initial branches, 17 if you include Cyber. There is not enough time to touch on all the branches, but be assured what you do learn will have practical uses no matter what you branch.

    OCS will focus on the same type of training you do in ROTC, tactics, it's just compressed in to a shorter full time training period. The issue with OCS, as it was stated above, is that OCS fills the gaps left from ROTC and USMA. OCS will fill the branches not filled by the other commissioning sources. There is a good possibility that the branch you want won't be available in your OCS class, not all branches are available in every class. If you want a certain branch then ROTC is the place to stay.

    This statement is very true and you will experience it more then once during your time in the Army.

    ROTC and the USMA for that matter is just the first step in becoming an Army Officer. Once you graduate you then go to BOLC, this is where you will be specifically trained in whatever you branch. Once you complete BOLC and report to your first unit, the learning continues. While it may seem pointless now, the training you get through the 4 years of ROTC will help you in each step along the way after you graduate and commission.

    If being an Army officer is your goal then you are in a great place with your scholarship and training. Thinking that the grass is greener by "simply" going to OCS is misguided.
     
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  8. MohawkArmyROTC

    MohawkArmyROTC Recruiting Operations Officer

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    Everything that is posted about is spot on, and no ROTC is not a correct representation of how active duty is like. Since you think Squad STX and Patrolling is so easy, that you can learn in one iteration, I challenge you to volunteer to be squad leader and lead a STX lane. You will find it is a lot harder than you think. Although, you may not want to be combat arms, STX lanes will help develop your planning, time management, critical thinking, decision making, judgement, physical fitness, ability to handle stress, and working in less than ideal conditions. All things that are required to be an Army Officer, regardless of branch. If you have a strong desire to serve, then you should stick out. The odds of you getting a commission through OCS is slim to none. As stated earlier, OCS is not always available as that it the last recourse to provide officers. Additionally, you have to be enlisted to get selected to OCS. Also, you are not likely to get selected to OCS as you failed to complete a prior officer producing program. If you can't handle ROTC lab, what makes you think you can handle the "hazing" of OCS?
     
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  9. doireann

    doireann Member

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    I can just give you my two cents worth. I have a son who is Army National Guard Infantry. He joined ROTC as a freshman and lasted one semester. His reasons were, and its only his reasons so I don't know if it is for everyone. Many of the ROTC kids don't think of it as a lifestyle ; he felt they didn't respect the army very much and thought of it as more of a club than serving. Now, he did do the split opt program and joined ROTC right after AIT. So he had just spent 9 weeks in Benning in the summer, and 10 weeks of boot camp the summer before. He was amazed that many of the ROTC kids didn't know where to put certain ribbons or badges. He was amazed that many of the ROTC kids will be officers and didn't take it so seriously.
    He stuck with the Guard and really loves it but he stepped away from ROTC.
    My other son received a 4 year ROTC scholarship so it will be interesting to see these two mature.
     
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Good Lord! That's not surprising at all! You're not expected to know this stuff starting out. You might know this stuff by the end of first semester.
     
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  11. Humey

    Humey Member

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    Please let me say that what your son did isnt in question. He gets to decide what he wants to do so I am not criticizing or judging his reasons or his actions. I guess I am curious , but my question is why would he care how others treated Rotc or thought of the army. As long as it didnt prevented him to taking it serious, why care how other people deal with it. In any case, he his happy withhis decision as it worked out great for him. You cant ask for better than that.
     
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  12. ChildeRoland76

    ChildeRoland76 Member

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    Morale. There is a difference between a battalion that is into getting it right and one full of individuals. I would argue that better leaders would come from the squared away battalion.
     
  13. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily 5-Year Member

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    The real Army was much different than ROTC. I had the exact opposite reaction that you've had, in that I really enjoyed ROTC and was looking forward to my career on active duty. However, the real Army was a bit of a let down for me. My experience at CTLT was my first eye-opening experience to active duty and there were some really negative things that I experienced there. I found active duty to be even more mind-numbing when it came to attending other courses with their very basic "tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them and tell them what you told them", hurry-up-and-wait training, inspections, etc. I will say that I don't regret any of it and really appreciate my time in ROTC and in the service ,and if asked if I would have done it again, my answer would always be "Yes." I can tell you that even as an AG officer, we still did do patrolling exercises during our large Field Training Exercises. We did more PT in the Army than I did in ROTC. We went on much longer unit runs in my active duty unit than we did in ROTC. When I was in ROTC, demonstrated leadership during these squad/platoon tactics was an integral part of your rating at Advanced Camp which weighed heavily in the OML for determining branching for active duty, etc.
     
  14. doireann

    doireann Member

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    It makes a huge difference in morale, teamwork and attitude. It just takes one kid to bring down the team.
     
  15. doireann

    doireann Member

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    No, these were kids that were sophmores or juniors. Not freshmen.
     
  16. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Certainly not acceptable for juniors in my mind. I might cut sophomores some slack early in the fall semester thinking they forgot some stuff over the summer.