Written by: Jenny Hale
For those graduating high school and thinking about joining the military, an alternative to enlisting are various ROTC programs held at colleges across the country. Students, National Guard, and Reserve members interested have an option to choose between four programs including Army ROTC, Naval ROTC, Marine ROTC and Air Force ROTC.
The Army ROTC graduates college students to Second Lieutenant Officers. Cadets can specialize in military intelligence, aviation and engineering, among other fields of interest. Students can receive an ROTC scholarship while attending typical college classes, along with physical training exercises and military courses required by the program.
The Navy ROTC (NROTC) graduates cadets as a Naval Officer with specialties in submarine warfare, civil engineering, oceanography and other fields. Cadets who graduate may also have a chance to train to become one of the country’s elite Navy SEALs. The Navy also provides scholarships for the program and college tuition.
The Marine ROTC is similar to other ROTC programs in that it graduates a cadet at Second Lieutenant upon completion of the Marine Officer Candidate School Academy. Scholarships are also available to committed cadets.
The Air Force ROTC (AFROTC) graduates its students as Second Lieutenants with a four-year commitment in active duty. For cadets interested in becoming pilots, a ten-year commitment is required. While in the program, cadets take military courses alongside their college courses with topics in communication, leadership, military studies, physical training and foreign cultural immersion. Tuition is also available at various levels for qualified cadets.
Syracuse University is host to two ROTC programs—Army and Air Force. The Air Force program, known as Detachment 535, is host to 12 other local colleges.
“Leadership is about people. My most important daily activity is developing you into a leader,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jon Landis, the Air Force ROTC Commander at Syracuse University.
Syracuse University offers Air Force ROTC scholarships that cover housing and meals at the college with values up to $9,500. Each cadet also receives a stipend each month and money towards textbooks each semester.
“Air Force ROTC has given me the training to become a confident leader in everything I do. I am forever grateful for being involved in the program, as it has shown me how important leadership traits are in my everyday life,” said Nilani Singler, a senior cadet at Syracuse University.
The Army ROTC Stalwart Battalion at Syracuse University is one of over 1,100 Army ROTC programs in colleges across the country.
“Syracuse University Army ROTC recruits, selects, educates, trains and commissions Syracuse students to be officers and leaders of character in the United States Army. The program instills the values of citizenship, national and community service and personal responsibility with a dynamic leadership curriculum and practical hands on experience,” said Michael Bianchi, a Lieutenant Colonel of the U.S. Army who teaches Military Science at Syracuse University.
The Army ROTC program at Syracuse University offers a fully-funded semester abroad program along with Ranger Challenge programs and Airborne Training Assault activities.
“The value of having an ROTC program on campus is [that] it brings together the community that wants to join the military, as well as people that want to get a degree. Being able to do both at the same time gives people the chance to learn what they want to do specifically in the military and specifically what they want to do as soon as they get out of the military after their service,” said Stephen Brucker, an Army ROTC cadet at Syracuse University.
Jenny Hale is currently a Public Relations graduate student at the Newhouse School of Public Communications. Hale is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management with degrees in Marketing and Supply Chain Management. Her minor is in Native American Studies. Hale has spent time volunteering at the VA Hospital and is an active military and veteran supporter. She is currently a public relations and marketing intern at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families.