What Is ROTC and What does it Stand For?
The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is a training program of the United States armed forces present on college campuses to recruit and educate commissioned officers. It is designed as a college elective, and studies focus on leadership development, problem solving, strategic planning, and professional ethics. ROTC commissions roughly 60% of all officers in the U.S. Armed Forces. Other officers are commissioned through the academies (such as the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs) and OTS (Officer Training School). For more information on Air Force ROTC look up AFROTC.com.
A Little Bit of History
The first Air Force ROTC units were established between 1920 and 1923 at the University of California at Berkeley, Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois, the University of Washington, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College. After World War II Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, chief of staff of the War Department, signed General Order No. 124, establishing Air ROTC units at 77 colleges and universities throughout the nation. Today, there are 144 AFROTC Detachments on American colleges and university campuses with cross-town arrangements with over 1025 other schools. For more AFROTC history, see the official history section of AFROTC.com.
About the Program
General Military Course
The first two years of the Air Force ROTC four-year program, the General Military Course (GMC), consist of one hour of classroom work and one to two hours of leadership laboratory each week. The General Military Course is an opportunity for students not on an Air Force ROTC scholarship to try out the program with no obligation. After completing General Military Course requirements, if you wish to compete for entry into the last two years of the program, the Professional Officer Course, you must do so under the requirements of the Professional Officer Course selection system. This system uses qualitative factors, such as grade point average, unit commander evaluation and aptitude test scores to determine if you have officer potential. After selection, you must successfully complete a summer four-week field-training unit at an assigned Air Force base before entering the Professional Officer Course. And once you’re enrolled in the Professional Officer Course you must attend class three hours a week and participate in a weekly leadership laboratory (lasting from one to two hours).
Professional Officer Course
In the Professional Officer Course (POC), you apply what you have learned in the General Military Course and at field-training units. And in Professional Officer Corps you actually conduct the leadership laboratories and manage the unit’s cadet corps. Each unit has a cadet corps based on the Air Force organizational pattern of flight, squadron, group and wing. Professional Officer Course classes are small. Emphasis is placed on group discussions and cadet presentations. Classroom topics include management, communication skills and national defense policy. And once you’ve enrolled in the Professional Officer Course, you’re enlisted in the Air Force Reserve and assigned to the Obligated Reserve Section. This entitles you to a monthly $450-$500 nontaxable subsistence allowance during the academic year.
For full details, see the program requirements page of AFROTC.com.
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