Green to Gold

Green to Gold is a program that allows active duty soldiers to leave the Army, go back to school to earn a degree and participate in ROTC, and return to the Army with a commission as a Second Lieutenant.

I recently received an email from one of our recently graduated, and currently deployed alum.  LT Jeremy Paro is currently serving in the Transportation Corp in Afghanistan.  He wrote requesting some information about Green to Gold for his soldiers.  Here is what he asked.

I am writing as some of my Soldiers have expressed interest to me in potentially becoming Officers.  Is there any material or literature that I can give them or print out for them that outlines the process to apply for the Green to Gold program or just joining ROTC via a normal 2-4 year scholarship?

So, in an effort to make things simple I’m going to turn my response into a blog post (is this being lazy, or smart???)

Here is my response

The best way for your soldiers to start the process is to visit

Once they check that out I would suggest they go on facebook and visit

Captain Smith at Fort Drum is one of our cadre who does nothing but Green to Gold (he actually does some other things, but mostly G2G).  He can help any applicant, anywhere in the world, who wants to attend school anywhere.  And the last location for good information is here

Hope that helps…make sure all your soldiers know about the GKB, and see if any of them play hockey.

I hadn’t been on the facebook page in a while, but when I swung over there to get the link I was reminded just what a great job Captain Hunt, and now Captain Smith have done spearheading a new approach to Green to Gold.  They have essentially taken the initiative to be the primary point of contact between Cadet Command and the field force for anyone considering Green to Gold.  They have simplified a process that was a little bit of a mystery, and found some unique ways to leverage things like the non-scholarship option.  Last semester we added 5 Green to Gold cadets to the GKB.  One received an Active Duty Option scholarship, and the other four joined us through the non-scholarship option.  We added one more non-scholarship cadet this spring.

If you are a Soldier wishing to pursue the Green to Gold option check out the links, contact the Fort Drum Green to Gold officer, and start looking at colleges.

And leave me a comment to let me know you are starting the journey!!!

Good Luck!





Women…can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em

Let me start out by saying that I’m the father of two daughters.  I would be thrilled if either of my daughters planned to follow in my footsteps, but I’m equally thrilled to have one studying Marketing at Shippensburg University, and one planning on attending The Clarkson School to study Biomolecular Science.  Neither has shown an inclination to explore ROTC.

I am a big fan/supporter/believer that women belong in the military/Army and that there should be very few limitations on what they are expected to do.  The current policy is that women will not serve in units who’s primary mission is direct combat.  In the Army that is the Infantry and the Armor branches.  Beyond that women fly combat helicopters, women serve in the field artillery and air defense artillery, and women may be found almost anywhere on the battlefield.  In my career I served under some outstanding leaders/bosses who just happened to be women.  I led women soldiers as a company commander, and I trained hundreds of female soldiers back in my basic training XO days.

My boss and the commander of the 10th Signal Battalion/ J6 in Afghanistan in 2003-4

In the Golden Knight Battalion at Clarkson I have been here for over 6 years.  This is the first year that the Cadet Battalion Commander hasn’t been female.  Those cadets include the #7 cadet in the nation in 2008, and all of them were deserving of the position.  They have gone on to join the active force, and the reserves in branches like the medical services corps, the Adjutant General Corps, and the Aviation Branch.  One of the female cadets in this years graduating class has chosen Air Defense Artillery as her branch.  In my opinion there is no place on the battlefield that a female Soldier/Officer isn’t currently likely to go, and no place on the battlefield where she shouldn’t be allowed to go.

Women in Combat

“Women in Combat – NPR

What do you think?

SMP another option

The Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP) is a program that allows Reserve and National Guard soldiers to be enrolled in ROTC, take advantage of certain benefits, and pursue a commission.   It has some benefits and some drawbacks, and I’ll do my best to spell out each.  This is a program that students who aren’t strong scholarship candidates should consider to help pay for college.

Take a look at this video.  It is very cursory, and focuses on National Guard.  Remember that you can also SMP in the Reserves, and know that you can start on the path to SMP as early as freshman year.

Lets start off by saying that a student interested in SMP will have to talk to a recruiter, enlist in the Guard or Reserves, and may have to attend Basic Training and AIT.  You don’t necessarily have to do this right off the bat.  You could start taking ROTC classes and then look into the SMP program.  This option could allow you to forgo basic training.

Technically you aren’t an SMP cadet until you have contracted in ROTC, which is another reason I suggest starting in ROTC before enlisting.  Since a cadet can’t contract until sophomore year, unless they are on scholarship, a freshman cadet will be in somewhat of a grey area.  Students can try to enlist as an officer cadidate (MOS O9r), or they can enlist for any MOS they are qualified for.  If they chose to enlist O9r they will have to have a letter of acceptance from an ROTC Battalion, and they may have some difficulty getting GI bill benefits while a cadet, because technically there is no AIT for their MOS (ROTC is the advance training), so they will never be MOS qualified until they commission.

Once a cadet is in the SMP program they are required to join a Guard or Reserve unit and drill regularly.  This means they will be giving up one weekend a month to go train with their unit.  If they are lucky they will be a member of a unit that is easy to travel to.  In our case we have a unit in the next town over (Canton), and we are 1 hour north of Fort Drum, which is home to a number of units.  Some would argue that drilling and attending AIT will make a future officer better, because they have experienced what the soldiers they will lead have experienced.  I totally disagree with this theory, and the topic will be the subject of a future blog.

Here is the biggest concern and possible draw back to this option.   Although an SMP cadet is not deployable, again a cadet is not officially SMP until they contract.  An enlisted freshman may be told that they must deploy with their unit.  Currently my understanding is that they are usually not required to deploy, but again this can be a gray area.  Additionally, often my prospects are convinced to forgo a semester to attend Basic and AIT (the recruiter gets his credit) which often puts the future cadet out of synch and a semester behind which often results in December graduation.  Without going into a lot of detail this creates problems.  It is far better to start school as planned and if there is still a burning desire to attend Basic, it can be done between Freshman and Sophomore year.

One last consideration is that if you are competing for a 4 year scholarship, and accept it, you cannot participate in the SMP program your first year, and must leave the guard or reserves.  If you are a scholarship winner and you do desire the SMP program, starting in your sophomore year, you can convert your scholarship to a Guaranteed Reserve Forces  Duty (GRFD) scholarship.  At that time you must begin drilling, and you will be prohibited from assessing onto Active Duty.  Non scholarship SMP cadets can still go Active Duty when they graduate.

The bottom line is make sure that if you are considering the SMP program that you get your information from an enrollment officer, and carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks.

New York National Guard SMP site

This link is a good starting point for info.  One reason it took so long for me to tackle this post is that it’s a little difficult to explain SMP in a simple, concise way.  If you google ROTC SMP you will find a ton of discussion board threads covering all the variations of the SMP program, with a ton of misleading and partially incorrect information.  I can’t emphasize enough that you talk to an enrollment officer at an ROTC battalion to get the most accurate information about the program.


Time is running out

10 January is the deadline to start your application for the fall 2011 Army ROTC scholarship.  Once it is started you have until 28 February to have all the requirements complete to be considered for the scholarship.  What are the requirements?

Time is running out, but it’s not too late.

Remember also that you can still participate in ROTC, still compete for scholarship at a later date, and still become an Army Officer without a scholarship.  Everyone in ROTC is not going to school for free.  When I commissioned through the Army ROTC program at Shippensburg University I was non scholarship, contracted as a junior, and received a stipend of $100 dollars a month my last two years of college.  I became an Army Officer when I graduated.

If you want college, and to become an Army Officer get to and start the process!