I have a few general questions about AROTC at the Institute.
- What opportunities are there within the Battalion?
- Any information about Ranger Challenge?
- OML Advice?
- Does taking a language such as Arabic yield any more opportunities rather than something such as Spanish?
- Any differences in stuff you'll be doing if you're already contracted (coming in with a 4 year)?
- Does doing a sport at the Institute such as Boxing help with AROTC?
- Percent of DMGs?
- How well they are at branching and with ADSOs?
Thank you for your time and replies. Have a nice day.
A few thoughts on VMI AROTC and SMC ROTC in general. There are some distinct differences between doing ROTC at a SMC and traditional university program.
- Opportunities are there in the battalion but there is a weighted game to leadership in the ROTC Battalion versus Corps of Cadets. I know when I was at VMI the idea was that the PMS and AROTC folks selected folks who were less active in the Corps to key positions in the battalion to boost them on their leadership dimension. In the same turn if you are a squad leader in the ROTC Battalion but a Cadet Captain or First Lieutenant in the Corps of Cadets the ROTC program looked at that piece. The PMS was on the board for Cadet Captains along with the PNS and PAS as well as the Commandants Staff.
- Ranger Challenge is a thing but again it was always one of a myriad of activities you could do along with cadet battery or other campus clubs. It was helpful for those interested in it and gave them some face time with the cadre but if you were busy being a cadre corporal for rats or club president of other clubs or a D1 athlete the PMS and faculty understood that piece.
- Focus on what you can control specifically grades and APFT. I honestly don't remember hearing about the OML that much. I think we got one or two classes on it but it was basically work hard and it pays off in the end. One of the things I see here that is bothersome is a mentality to try and game the OML. That is why I like the forced distribution across branches as well as active/NG/R components.
- I would focus on the language you enjoy and the one that will help your GPA. Weigh the costs/benefits of GPA versus strategic language points and make a decision based on that.
- I know if you're contracted off the bat you'll be given an APFT on M-1 from Matriculation to activate scholarships. Otherwise, not much difference Rat and 3rd Class year other than you'll be eligible for Summer programs like ABN, AASLT, CQDC and things like that.
- Boxing is a club sport so not sure if you'll get same credit as a D1 sport. From my perspective Cadet-athletes have it very hard in balancing Corps/ROTC and athletics. The ROTC program encourages athletics but even at VMI you have to be D1 caliber (which most are not) and understand when you're in season that is a good portion of your life.
- Approximately 20% of last year and this year's MS IVs were DMGs. That is much better than in my day and I think it shows how they are prepping cadets for camp better. On the flip side I told the PMS three years after graduating and after my first tour in OIF that VMI prepared me well as a non-infantry officer in an infantry unit to be focused on combat fitness and small unit tactics which I didn't get at the Basic Course as much.
- Again branching is really based on needs of the Army but if you're a stud in all areas you will probably okay and either way at the end of the day you'll lead Soldiers. As far as ADSOs looking at it from a 16 year perspective the guys I see with ADSOs tend to have some regrets. Basically, I wouldn't ADSO for a post you'll only be at for 3 years and which you may be away from for 12-15 months. I wouldn't ADSO for graduate school with the myriad of underutilized broadening programs that provide great Masters and I wouldn't ADSO for branch given the limited understanding most cadets have of what branches actually do or the common threads between each. Great examples of how to maximize a less desired branch if you are combat arms gung ho are the AG and FA classmates I had who went to 75th RR and assessed there or my two signal classmates who are now field grades in SF. They didn't need ADSOs just took opportunities and ran with it to pursue goals on different lines.