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ROTC and College

CPUscientist3000CPUscientist3000 5346 replies104 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,450 Senior Member
edited March 2013 in Parents Forum
Hi all. Hope you are all having a happy New Years (if you celebrate it).

I am a first year student (female) thinking of joining ROTC. I have always wanted to join the military (my mother was in the Army Reserve) but my mother is against it. We haven't talked about it recently, but I remember last time we talked about it she said I am old enough to make my own decisions and when I turn 18 I will not need her permission.

Are any of your children in/were in ROTC? How did you as a family make a decision (or did it not happen that way)? What is your child's daily/weekly life like with ROTC? I would be doing ROTC at MIT although I am not a student there (I go to Harvard).


If there are any details you would need, please let me know. I am planning on an Applied Mathematics major. I come from a small town where many students choose the military after high school so this (the idea) is nothing new to me.

Thanks in advance.
edited March 2013
81 replies
Post edited by CPUscientist3000 on
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Replies to: ROTC and College

  • PackMomPackMom 7650 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,667 Senior Member
    My S had a Navy ROTC scholarship. He wanted to be in the military from a very young age (middle school). We supported his plan from the very beginning. He's currently a Lt.jg in the Navy deployed to Bahrain.

    What branch of the service are you interested in? Each has it's own requirements.
    Air Force and Navy are the most difficult to get into. Army is the easiest.
    For Navy and Air Force, they are mostly looking for engineering/physics/hard sciences.
    Army doesn't care what you major in.

    You have a 5 year active duty requirement followed by 5 years reserve commitment upon commissioning.

    Basically, ROTC requires taking a miltary science class each semester in addition to your regular course load. There were a few semesters when S took 19/20 credit hours in order to graduate on time.

    PT is two or three times/week. It starts at 6am. If you're not in good shape, you'll also have extra PT. Uniforms are worn all day one day per week. There are often various other meetings/inspections,etc.

    Would you have transportation to get back and forth to MIT for all the ROTC requirements?
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76129 replies663 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,792 Senior Member
    Interesting that your mother was in the Army Reserve but is against you going into the military.

    Hmmm, would applied math with emphasis on algebra, number theory, and cryptography be a major that the military has interest in?
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  • CPUscientist3000CPUscientist3000 5346 replies104 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,450 Senior Member
    Thanks for your response.

    There are many students here who do ROTC at MIT and Northeastern who go together but I don't know them and never asked how they get to/from. There are shuttles and the MBTA which I'm sure they take. MIT is a short bus ride from Harvard (on the same street).

    I may be interpreting this incorrectly, but the MIT Army ROTC website says there wouldn't be a commitment after graduation if I wasn't getting a scholarship for my college.

    http://web.mit.edu/armyrotc/join.html#FAQ4





    EDIT: ucbalumnus--- my mom had a brain tumor and in order to get out she was honorably discharged and demoted. She doesn't get any benefits.
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  • azmommazmomm 159 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 177 Junior Member
    If you are in AROTC, the summer between Junior and Senior year you will attend LDAC. You must contract to attend. Please go to the Service academy forums for more detail
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  • CPUscientist3000CPUscientist3000 5346 replies104 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,450 Senior Member
    Thanks azmomm I have looked at that forum.
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  • busdriver11busdriver11 15144 replies28 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 15,172 Senior Member
    "Interesting that your mother was in the Army Reserve but is against you going into the military"

    Maybe her experience is why she is against it.

    "I may be interpreting this incorrectly, but the MIT Army ROTC website says there wouldn't be a commitment after graduation if I wasn't getting a scholarship for my college"

    If you carefully read your own link, you will see that yes, at the beginning of your junior year there is a commitment, scholarship or not. Read the first two sentences. Though there are some people who have signed up to go into the reserves or guard instead. This is nothing new. They will not let you go through training without a commitment, with or without scholarship. They won't let you go through 4 years of ROTC and training, and at graduation say, "Oh well, I changed my mind!" If you try to do that, well, welcome to the ranks of enlisted soldiers. Here is your link:

    "What is my obligation to the Army after graduation?

    ALL cadets who wish to continue with Army ROTC must contract by the beginning of their junior year. This means that they have made the commitment to enter into the Army after graduation. Most contracted, scholarship cadets are obligated to the active Army for 4 years. However, there are two-year scholarships available which require no active duty commitment, but rather an eight- year National Guard or Reserve commitment. These obligations involve service one weekend a month and two weeks during the summer during individual civilian occupation."
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  • CPUscientist3000CPUscientist3000 5346 replies104 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,450 Senior Member
    busdriver11 - thanks for clarifying that for me. That's why I posted and asked for advice from other posters who know more than I do on this subject.
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  • busdriver11busdriver11 15144 replies28 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 15,172 Senior Member
    Sure, CPU. I wasn't trying to be snotty, actually. Just grouchy tonight!! Really grouchy.

    I went through Air Force ROTC, also female...many years ago. Don't regret it for a minute. But if I had daughters, I would want them to think long and hard about joining the Army or Marines, possibly even the Navy. I would be comfortable with them joining the Air Force or Coast Guard. What field and what service are you interested in?
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  • CPUscientist3000CPUscientist3000 5346 replies104 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,450 Senior Member
    It's alright, busdriver.

    I just got a resounding "NO you are NOT joining the military" from my mom followed by "Fine do what you have to do. Research it and do what you have to do."

    I haven't been actively looking at it for a year or so because I didn't want to get my hopes up because I know what response I'd get from my mother. The army is the only branch I'm remotely familiar with because of my mother. I thought MIT only had Navy and Army ROTC and not Air Force, which is what I wanted to do originally (as in since I was in middle school). Now that I can actually get serious about this (turned 18 a few days ago) I will do a lot more research and maybe meet with a recruitment officer when I get back to campus and before classes start. Everyone from my town is Navy, Air Force, or Marines, no Army.

    I'm frustrated that I'm so young that I couldn't get the ball rolling with this last winter as a HS senior. Now I feel behind even though they say on their websites that it's alright to be a spring freshman or sophomore, I'll just have less time before I have to commit.

    Would you mind talking more about your AF experience? Would it be better if we PM'd?
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  • busdriver11busdriver11 15144 replies28 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 15,172 Senior Member
    No, I don't mind talking about AF experiences, there isn't really anything too personal. And I don't care if it is PM or public, I don't have anything that I'm concerned about talking about in public. If there is something personal that you don't want out there, then do feel free to PM me about that. But there are so many people on here with great experiences that can help you if you explain your interests.

    I joined Air Force ROTC after one year at community colleges. Got a 3 year scholarship in engineering, but I didn't join ROTC because I wanted to get college paid for, though it was very nice not to be in debt. I wanted to be a pilot, so that was my interest. Pilots most often join the AF or Navy, I was active duty for 7 years, and have been an airline pilot for over 20 years now. I absolutely loved it, would have stayed in forever, but Desert Storm coincided with the birth of my first child. Both me and my husband being deployed, having to hire a baby sitter to raise our child....pretty awful. Absolutely great as a single person with no family, but raising a child, being gone all the time, definitely colors your perspective. You don't mind the lack of freedom when you are young. It was challenging being an extreme minority, but you learn to get the chip off your shoulder and let it roll off of you (or you don't, and people don't like you)!

    Shrinkrap was also in the military for quite some time, maybe she will post.

    Are there some specific fields that you might be interested in?
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  • CPUscientist3000CPUscientist3000 5346 replies104 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,450 Senior Member
    Thanks busdriver.

    So, your commitment after college was 7 years? I've always wanted to be a pilot; The AFROTC website says for pilots it's 10 years after pilot training:

    "Most officers have a four-year commitment. For pilots it is 10 years after pilot training, and six years for combat systems officers after training. Air Battle Managers have a six-year commitment."

    When planning out my coursework and future career goals (sans military) with my adviser I had talked about wanting to focus on predictive analysis and ultimately end up in the CIA/Homeland/NSA/etc doing intelligence/counterterrorism. Being an intelligence officer is closest to that and I know I'd prefer that over being a pilot (pilot is second choice).
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  • busdriver11busdriver11 15144 replies28 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 15,172 Senior Member
    Yep, commitment was 7 years, but that has changed over time, and yes, I'd heard it was ten years now, also. It costs the military big bucks to train pilots, so they want their money's worth. Most people who join the military that are interested in flying are pretty obsessed with it, as it is tough to get into and very challenging to finish training. Huge washout rate. People don't end up in aviation as second choice, so I'm sure that if you're interested in intelligence/counterterrorism first, you'd be much more liable to end up there. I would think in today's environment, that would be a wide open field. Of course, there are plenty of civilians working in that field also.

    I am curious. Does your mom have a specific objection to you becoming a military officer? Or an objection to you joining the army? I would be very concerned with a daughter joining the army or the marines (risk, and not particularly female friendly), but I don't know that I would put my foot down on the others.
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  • CPUscientist3000CPUscientist3000 5346 replies104 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,450 Senior Member
    She doesn't want me in the military period. She didn't tell me about any bad experiences army-specific, just that when I sign up the military controls my life and I will just be a "body".

    But I've wanted this for a while. I know it won't be easy. My mom went to escape home life and she's told me all about the countless times she cried for her mom to come get her when it got really tough, but she stuck with it.
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  • busdriver11busdriver11 15144 replies28 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 15,172 Senior Member
    Well, she is, unfortunately right about that. The needs of the military are what is most important, and they can pretty much send you anywhere to do anything whatsoever, against your desires and away from your family. People join for all sorts of reasons, but the reality is that if needed, you are expected to obey orders and fight and die for your country if necessary. Even if you don't agree with what you're doing. Many people don't get the loss of freedom and choices in their lives that they give up. You have to salute, follow orders and give respect to people that you sometimes loathe.

    Then again, those choices are better if you are an officer than enlisted. Choices may be better in one service than another, and some fields over others. And choices aren't always that important before you have children. I loved being in the military, but after I had my son, I said I'd work at a gas station before I went back to active duty again. Being involuntarily parted from a small child is terrible, and people who go into the military must be aware that they will be deployed. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.
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  • PackMomPackMom 7650 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,667 Senior Member
    Yup, as I said upthread, S1 spent Christmas in Bahrain this year. His roommate just returned from six months in Afghanistan. You have to be prepared to live a somehwat nomadic life that most times you have no say so about. For instance S1 will finish this deployment in June 2013 and expects to have to deploy again only seven months later in Feb. 2014.

    On the other hand, he has been to many places/done many things/aquired a very specialized skill that he couldn't have gotten anywhere else. That skill will open doors for him when he leaves the Navy. He also plans to utilize the GI Bill when he gets out to get a second college degree.
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