Carlos Perez - ROTC: A Leadership Experience

I attended school and trained to serve in the United States Army.
In my freshmen year of college, I joined the Reserved Officer Training Corp (ROTC) for the United States Army. It is essentially a program that allows students to begin their army career as cadets where they learn how to become effective officers while earning their degree. Once the cadet completes the degree and the program, he/she then receives a commission as a Second Lieutenant. The ROTC program takes very good care of their cadets providing a scholarship for up to 4 years, a monthly stipend up to $500, and funds to pay for school supplies and books to cadets who display ambition and dedication to their training. As future leaders of our military, we make sure we take care of our colleagues, helping each other strive for success in our studies.
 
The program consists of physical training (PT) three times a week, unless the student participates in Rangers Challenge, which meets every school day at 6 am. We preform PT with our respected platoons so that we build esprit de corp, as well as our muscles. We also learn basic army etiquette as well as leadership procedures and types of communications used by officers. We practice squad level tactics and movements each Wednesday so that we further understand how to become effective leaders in army scenarios. At the end of every semester we perform a Field Training Exercise (FTX) at Fort Huachuca where we set up in an assembly area in a remote location with issued paintball guns. We are given a mission which we are to complete using all the skills taught during the semester. It’s just like camping outdoors with all your best friends, except we are given MREs (meals ready to eat), and we have to be alert as we risk getting shot by an enemy paintball. This FTX is loads of fun. 

 
As a chemistry major, seeking a career in the military is very beneficial to me because all branches including Navy and Air Force are looking for bright STEM majors who are willing to help build and use cutting-edge technology essential for global operations. Most people think that joining the army means having a gun in your hand and shooting other people. Yes, that is one aspect of the military, but there are so many other career options as well. My goal is to pursue a career in medicine, where I hope to become a Medical Officer. Other careers I could pursue could be in the Chem Corp where soldiers learn to manage and control chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear waste. There are many learning opportunities in the army, each just as exciting as the Next.