Double Duty

Ariane R. Cavin

Students serve in Army National Guard and ROTC

Only one weekend a month and two weeks a year – that’s what the Army National Guard requires of its members. Some Kent State students do more than that.

The Simultaneous Membership Program allows ROTC students to become members of the Army National Guard.

Students with prior National Guard service experience who decide to join ROTC or students in ROTC who want to join the National Guard can become a part of the program, said Staff Sgt. Robert Scott, Military Science National Guard liaison.

The Army ROTC cadets learn to balance the classes and ROTC and National Guard duties for different reasons, he said.

One of the most noticeable benefits is the money, he said. The Army National Guard Simultaneous Membership Program offers money to students in various ways including 100 percent payment of tuition, pay for attending weekend drills, a stipend for being in ROTC, an enlistment bonus and extra money for school.

“It gives students a variety of options,” said Staff Sgt. Brian D. Porter, Military Science National Guard liaison. “They also get to go to boot camp so they get the best of both worlds. And the pay is substantial.”

Army ROTC cadets who are in the National Guard are able to learn about military procedures in class every Thursday and then apply those procedures to exercises in the field during weekend drills. Most students contract during their junior year, but some students contract early after their freshman year, he said.

During his junior year of high school, Phillip P. Wilson, sophomore criminal justice studies major, joined the Ohio National Guard after he was inspired by his cousin who was in the service and deployed to Iraq.

“I’ve already gone through what the cadets are going through now,” Wilson said. “With ROTC, I get to step up to the plate and be a role model.”

He knows what it is like to receive orders from basic training and weekend drills, but he said ROTC allows him to give out orders to fellow cadets.

Because he joined the National Guard before he started college and ROTC, Wilson is deployable and is scheduled to go to Iraq this summer with his unit. Wilson is not yet contracted through ROTC; however, he said when he does contract, he will no longer be deployable because he will be in the ROTC program.

Because he is a part of the Infantry branch of the Army, Wilson said he knows some parts of military life other cadets in ROTC do not know.

“I know what it’s like to be a private,” he said. “I’ve worked my way up from the bottom.”

Freshman Spanish major Jalayna Nadal joined the National Guard partly for financial assistance with college and partly for the experience before she becomes a commissioned officer.

“It helps re-enforce what I already know through ROTC,” she said. “I am also learning some of the same stuff that I’m going to learn at basic training.”

Nadal is working her way into the Simultaneous Membership Program. She goes to Recruit Sustainment Program one weekend a month in place of drill. Once she attends basic training and Advanced Individual Training, she will be placed with a unit.

“Most of the stuff that we learn at RSP is what we will have to do at basic training,” she said. “We learned about biological and chemical weapons and how to put on a gas mask in under nine seconds.”

After graduating and receiving their commission, students will be required to serve two to four years in active duty or six years in the Army Reserves or National Guard, Porter said.

After graduation, Wilson said he would like to stay with the Infantry branch of the Army, which is based out of Ft. Benning, Ga.

“Students who are involved in the National Guard are well-rounded soldiers,” Porter said. “They will know what their troops have been through, and it makes them a better leader.”

Contact ROTC reporter Ariane R. Cavin at [email protected].