ROTC at McDaniel

McDaniel cadet Kyle Saffer and University of Kentucky cadet Alex Guren in Gabon during a CULP trip. Photo by Kyle Shaffer.McDaniel cadet Kyle Saffer and University of Kentucky cadet Alex Guren in Gabon during a CULP trip. Photo by Kyle Shaffer.

Since 1919, the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program has been changing lives at McDaniel College. The program is proudly one of the oldest ROTC battalions in the nation, and consists of three schools throughout Maryland—McDaniel, Mount Saint Mary’s University, and Hood College. Although the Green Terror Battalion is spread across these campuses, cadets still share a strong friendship and possess an effective work ethic during combined classes as well as training events.

Men and women who are contracted cadets are commissioned as either an active or reserve Army officer with the rank of Second Lieutenant upon graduation.  However, this guaranteed job after college just doesn’t fall into the cadets’ laps.

Just like a sports team, cadets have to compete for their “starting spots.” Throughout their four years in the program, cadets are closely watched and graded by the battalion’s cadre, who is the leader, and even their own peers. Contracted cadets, including those who are on an Army ROTC scholarship, are given the opportunity to attend various summer training courses.

Summer training opportunities include Airborne and Air Assault schools, Cadet Troop Leader Training (CTLT), Mountain Warfare School, and Cultural Understanding of Language Proficiency (CULP). CULP is a program that allows cadets to travel to various countries to gain an understanding of its culture and foreign military training. These training events are just some of the extraordinary and numerous opportunities that ROTC offers.

Teaching English to Gabonese guard soldiers during a CULP trip. Photo by Kyle Shaffer.

Teaching English to Gabonese guard soldiers during a CULP trip. Photo by Kyle Shaffer.

For new cadets or anyone interested in and curious about starting a career in the armed forces, there are starting options to see if ROTC is the right choice. McDaniel offers basic military courses, which consist of Military Science Year one (MSI) and Military Science Year two (MSII). In these courses, new cadets experience a basic introduction to the U.S. Army that encompasses topics such as military customs and courtesy, military history, core foundations of leadership, land navigation, and a brief introduction to troop leading procedures and operations orders.

The first two years are easy on the new, curious cadets. There is limited commitment throughout each semester, and cadets participate in classroom learning activities as well as field training exercises. The Green Terror Battalion runs physical training (PT) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday throughout each semester. Each month the cadets rally together to conduct various labs such as land navigation, troop leading procedures, and various other training exercises. Once a semester, the cadets from all campuses come together in a Field Training Exercise (FTX) where they have hands-on opportunities to perform operations and skills they initially learned in a classroom environment.

Scholarships, another benefit of the ROTC program, are offered to cadets who prove themselves worthy by showing strong leadership capabilities. Not only can prospective cadets apply for a national ROTC scholarship while in high school, but they can also apply for an on-campus scholarship. These scholarships can range from a four to one year and offer financial assistance for cadets for partial room and board, books and supplies, and tuition. Based on academic year, cadets are also paid stipends to help with the cost of food and any other necessities that they to enhance their education.

So, is ROTC for you? If you are interested in gaining vital leadership and personal skills, along with a chance to help others—both foreign and domestic—and a chance to serve your country, all while still working on your degree, ROTC the right choice!

Stop by the McDaniel ROTC offices in Winslow Hall with questions or concerns that the friendly staff of cadre will be happy to assist you with.