Learning to Lead — A Profile on Leadership: Army ROTC

See how two-year American Military Junior Colleges and four-year American Senior Military Colleges directly prepare you to become a leader.

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Leadership comes from within. Leadership has to be inculcated from inside. It’s gotta be in your heart. You gotta want to motivate men and women and lead them to excellence… the quiet courage, the unerring compass by which I lead today.

It was something I’d never tried before. It was a good opportunity. I took advantage of it and I love it.

I love the atmosphere here, I love seeing all the Cadets in uniform. It was just, it was a motivating experience.

Going this route, going to this school, getting the education, it’s enabled me to really fulfill my ambitions in life.

I find Cadets are attracted to senior military colleges for a couple of primary reasons. They want to become a Commissioned Officer, and they also want to have a college experience.

Even though some people think that it’s divided because you have the military school atmosphere and the civilian atmosphere, when it comes to classes and clubs, we’re actually pretty interconnected.

You sit out in the stands and being able to look up and just see 85,000 plus people, the crowd’s just roaring, it’s just amazing.

Most of the R.O.T.C. programs at American universities are four-year programs. The military junior college is a unique institution in that we frontload all the military training and actually commission them after their sophomore year.

They can take you from not knowing anything, and in two years, they can turn you into an Officer. And I see the improvement that I’ve personally made just in one year.

Come on, come on!

One of the main reasons I came here was the E.C.P. program, the Early Commissioning Program. The Early Commissioning Program is a program where I will be a lieutenant in two years of schooling. And then I go to another college for two more years to get my bachelor’s degree, and you get to decide after that whether you want to go Active, Reserve or National Guard. You get the training, you get experience not only in the military but just as a leader that you can use in the civilian world. You’re more disciplined, more organized, you’re better in front of people.

The Corps sets you up to succeed in whatever your life goals are. Cadets here have gone on to be generals, to run multi-million dollar organizations in the civilian sector.

C.E.O.s, senior business officials, senior government officials, the sky’s the limit on what they can achieve.

They’re learning how to be leaders in what I like to call Leadership Laboratory. And they learn from those experiences day in and day out.

The leadership experience that you get here is not just theory… you put it into practice, and you can’t really find that in many other places.

We actually step into the roles of squad leaders, of platoon sergeants, of first sergeants, and so forth, and you get graded on that.

I commanded a Cadet company for an entire year, and I actually had a full staff that was mirrored exactly off of an infantry company in the military.

When you get out of college, you still have more experience leading people than any other college kid.

I’m not gonna be afraid of taking on leadership positions. That’s the biggest difference. It’s gonna be second nature to take on those leadership roles.

You need to be able to instill motivation and learn how to inspire people, and that’s what I’ve learned here.

And one of the aspects of learning to lead is learning to follow. And we do that by ensuring that they are well advised, that they are mentored, they are counseled.

I really like the academics here. For one, it’s the smaller classes as opposed to a traditional school, so there’s more opportunity for that one-on-one with the teacher.

What are we interested in? Yes sir, mister…

They know you by name and when you go in for help, they can help you personally because they know what your study habits are and they know how you learn.

The difference here is we’re just waiting for the kids to come in and see us because it makes our day.

And they will sit down and personally help you if you want their advice. That right there is a big advantage. How many times have you sat at home and couldn’t figure out a math problem, and your teacher wasn’t around? Right now, we have teachers in the building, three or four of them, every night to help you out with that.

The Army is investing in the leaders of tomorrow. One way they’re doing it is the college scholarships.

I am on Army four-year R.O.T.C. scholarship, and it pays for your tuition, your books and your student fees.

I love talking about scholarships. At this point, Cadet Command has more scholarship dollars available than we have qualified applicants.

It’s a good opportunity for Cadets to come in and have their school paid for so that they don’t have anything to worry about. They can focus on their studies, and once they get commissioned into the Army, they can have all the skills necessary to be a good Officer.

I have no student loans. So overall, I’m almost getting school for free.

When I was in the corps of Cadets, that was your life. All the challenges that were placed on you, you had a bond with those who had a shared interest and went through the same challenges of being here. It wasn’t something that was given to you. It was something that you had to earn. I think the very same is true today. Those are endearing friendships.

Something different, something unique, you know. You go through trials together and you overcome those trials together, and I think that builds stronger friendships for later on down the road.

We’re like a big family. We love each other, we hate each other. But we all have to work together, and come game time, we’re able to make the impossible happen.

I’ve made some of the best friends. You go through so much with them, you just make a bond. They’re your brothers and sisters here.

It means a lot to be a second lieutenant in the United States Army. It means that I get the opportunity to lead the sons and daughters of this nation, gives me the opportunity to contribute my part in serving this country. And it doesn’t only mean a lot to me, it means a lot to my family.

I have much more ambition than I ever had before. I see so much more that I could be doing with my life, and I have so much more drive to do it.

We all have something greater to consider. So that right there makes it all worth it. You have to experience it to understand how great it is.

Personal motivation, academic excellence, physical courage and intellectual courage. This is not just military service. This is service to nation. That comes from that spirit. That is why they are here.