UR ROTC Battalion Awards Scholarships
The University of Richmond’s Army ROTC Battalion has awarded scholarships to incoming freshman at six colleges.
Just under two-and-a-half million dollars has been awarded to students entering Richmond, VCU, Virginia Union, Randolph-Macon, Hampden-Sydney and Longwood. Those schools make up what's known as the ROTC Spider Battalion. Lt. Col. Jason Garkey, professor of Military Science, said the scholarships are a good investment for the military.
Garkey: We find that those students that come to us represent a very good mix of scholars, athletes and leaders that are really the target population for our next generation of junior leaders within the army.
The money is intended to support the students in pursuit of an Army commission.
Garkey: Every Army officer has an undergraduate degree in order to receive their commission.
To qualify, the students had a high school grade point average of at least 3.3 and an average SAT score of at least 1140.
Garkey: And we have found that our numbers continue to increase; for example, we had an increase of about 45 students from last year who were interviewed for our program; now the significance of that is, those are people that went far enough through the process and provided enough paperwork that they were in the final stages, so it just simply wasn't somebody that submitted an application, and given the size of our program, 30 represented about a 12 to 15% increase over last year, and we've seen that trend continuing.
Colonel Garkey said the quality of the young people making the effort is outstanding.
Garkey: And I like to call them the "two-time volunteers"; you know, the first volunteer is to make that decision to go to college and then the second one is to serve the nation and, as a result, we're finding that service culture, and how that ties in is we have students that were in the naval ROTC program in high school that, because they're ROTC-proximant to Richmond, they're interested in coming to some of the Richmond schools, so they're making the transition to the Army for their ROTC program, and as a result, it's not so much service-centric as it is service to the nation-centric, and I think that's really a valuable quality and something that's very admirable, especially somebody who is a senior in high school and really making this decision during their junior year.
On the morning of the 18th, Spider Battalion will have a contracting ceremony. The future cadets will do a physical training test, draw equipment, sign paperwork and finally, take the oath.
Garkey: The commitment starts on the first day of their sophomore year, so once they step into that first class of their sophomore year, they've committed to service to the nation, and the expectation is that they will serve a combination of 8 years between active and reserve duty; some of that could be, for example, if they spent their 4 years on active duty, they would be on a 4-year inactive ready-reserve status, which would essentially be a on-call status, or they would serve the complete 8 years in the reserve component and the reserve officer, that would be your standard drilling officer doing a weekend a month and two weeks out of the year with deployment, so he's in accordance with their unit deployment cycle, so yes, there is a service obligation on the back end for receiving the scholarship.
In the current economy, he added, it's important to consider:
Garkey: The service is interesting employment, because it's a guaranteed career and as you're finding nowadays, especially talking to some of my colleagues over at Virginia Commonwealth and the University of Richmond, for example, both great schools but students are having a very difficult time when they graduate, walking out and finding employment.
On August 20th at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on the VCU campus, three students who’ve completed their degrees will be commissioned as lieutenants. Learn more online at military.richmond.edu or military.vcu.edu.
John Ogle, WCVE News