The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, better known as ROTC, is a college leadership program offered by more than 1,700 colleges across the United States. Students join ROTC for various reasons: financial benefits, scholarship opportunities, specific job training and much more.
The primary goal of ROTC is to train college students into future officers to serve in the armed forces. Boise State University has an Army ROTC program which allows students the opportunity to become an officer in the National Guard, Army Reserves or in active duty service.
Professor of Military Science at Boise State Lieutenant Colonel John Hawbaker began his military career at West Point, a four-year federal service academy. He now helps run the ROTC program at Boise State also known as the Bronco Battalion.
“ROTC is how the Army gets its officers; 75% of all the officers in the Army, national guard, reserves and active force all go through ROTC,” Hawbaker said. “The biggest reason students join is because of the job placement in the Army and becoming a Lieutenant after they graduate. The vast majority of our students graduate on time and with no student debt. Most students start with the 100 and 200 level classes and get hooked from there. There is no obligation to join the Army until normally your third year.”
Boise State’s Army ROTC program does three days a week of physical training with cadets, often working out on their own time as well. The training is used to condition cadets to the physical requirements of the Army. Much of the training is conducted in groups. Physical training consists of a wide variety of group exercises involving bodyweight, running and weights.
Cadet Tylor Sellers enlisted into the Army his junior year of high school and completed basic training by his senior year. After his senior year, Sellers decided that he wanted to be an Army nurse, a position that requires soldiers to be an officer.
“It’s a great way to pay for school and stay in shape. We do a lot of rucking which means throwing a pack on and getting some miles in,” Sellers said. “After I graduate, I will commission into the Army Reserves as an officer and I will be a nurse on the civilian side. For one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer, I will be with the Army and the rest of the time I will be a civilian nurse.”
Cadet Taylor Albaugh decided to try out ROTC because both her parents were service members and felt service was a part of her life. After her GI Bill ran out her sophomore year, she joined Boise ROTC and was able to get another scholarship.
“I’ve had a ton of hands-on learning experiences every Thursday we go up to the foothills, we run tactical drills, we go all up and down the foothills and run tactics,” Albaugh said. “The greatest thing I can tell someone is that it is an opportunity to serve your country and community.”