The Army ROTC program is designed to challenge you mentally and physically, preparing you for lifelong fitness in any career. Every Friday morning from 0600 to 0800 the Golden Eagle Battalion conducts leadership training exercises to develop leadership ability, soldiers skills, and prepare Cadets to become commissioned officers in the U.S. Army ROTC is one of the best leadership courses in the country and is part of your college curriculum. Bear Company, as part of the Ram Battalion, will conduct tough, realistic training in both field & garrison environments in order to form a cohesive unit of highly motivated, professional, physically fit, integrity driven warrior-leaders who embody the Warrior Ethos and upon commissioning, are 100% prepared to lead soldiers in a time of war. Army ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) is a program that will enhance your education by providing unique leadership training and management experience. Have top stories from The Daily Pennsylvanian delivered to your inbox every day, Sunday through Thursday, when Penn classes are in session.
The Daily Pennsylvanian followed the ROTC groups from Penn and other Philadelphia schools as they trained at Franklin Field early in the morning.
And after that, they go to their other classes and spend the rest of the day as regular Penn students — except because Wednesday is “active day,” they’ll be wearing their uniforms.
Housed on the fourth floor of the Hollenback Center on 3000 South Street, Penn’s NROTC unit — one of about 60 units nationwide — is unique in that it serves as a satellite campus for NROTC in Philadelphia. All NROTC students take Introduction to Naval Science, as well as courses in military history, navigation and leadership.
College senior and NROTC member Amanda Kate Spaeder said that in these classes, the students analyze different military situations, playing devil’s advocate to understand the outcomes. While naval science classes appear on NROTC students’ college transcripts, most do not count as school credits. Because of the NROTC’s rigorous selection standards, the process of joining the program begins early in the college admissions cycle.
Students apply for an NROTC scholarship the summer before their senior year of high school and can only accept it after being given admission to the college of their choice. He added that the full college scholarship provided by the NROTC — as well as a monthly $300 stipend at Penn — was an extra incentive to join. Once they arrive at Penn, NROTC students begin training right away — a transition that Giles believes can be challenging. While most students eventually find a way to strike a balance between their NROTC responsibilities and regular college life, the schedule doesn’t get any easier, Collins said.
Because most activities and group work sessions tend to be scheduled late at night, Collins gets an average of five hours of sleep per night before he has to wake up for physical training. Nevertheless, Collins believes that being in NROTC has taught him valuable lessons about time management. In addition to physical training and classes, all midshipmen have the opportunity to hold a leadership position in the unit, Giles said.

For Collins, getting to know other members of his unit — especially those from Drexel and Temple universities — has been a rewarding part of his experience. While the University’s history of military involvement dates back to the service 1752 Penn graduate Samuel Nicholas — who became the United States’ first Marine commandant — it wasn’t until 1940 that Penn established its first ROTC unit under then-University President Thomas Gates. According to Giles, the unit’s first class of 16 midshipmen eventually grew to 900 people during World War II.
More recently, Congress’s 2010 repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy barring LGBT individuals from serving openly in the armed forces has caused some universities to rethink their stance on NROTC.
At Penn, however, NROTC has maintained a “fantastic relationship with the school” over the years, Giles said. During their senior year of college, NROTC students are ranked against all other midshipmen across the nation to determine where they will serve, Spaeder said.
Once NROTC recruits complete the mandatory five years of service, they can choose to re-sign or go into the naval reserves, Giles said.
At the end of the day, she feels that her time in NROTC has given her a level of maturity that other Penn students may not have. First, you'll learn about the history, structure, and functions of the Army.
During classes, leadership labs, physical training and field training exercises, you will learn firsthand what it takes to lead others, motivate groups and conduct missions as an Officer in the Army. It helps you develop the qualities necessary for success in either a military or civilian career. Army ROTC cadets are taught to be leaders and are provided hand-on experience in managing physical, financial, and human resources. Robert Boyles, the Penn Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps runs around the track and completes a grueling workout full of crunches, squats and lunges.
The University’s NROTC program has 14 Penn participants, as well as 65 students from Drexel and Temple universities. Along with 14 Penn participants, around 65 students from Drexel and Temple universities commute to Penn to take part in training and classes, spending about 12 hours per week on Penn’s campus. Additionally, Marine Corps students are required to fulfill additional academic requirements, said Lt. Spaeder finds this policy “frustrating,” but she said that NROTC is trying to gain credit value for these classes as Penn is in the process of applying for reaccreditation. Even students who study liberal arts must take two semesters of physics and two semesters of calculus as part of the program. Two weeks prior to the start of college, selected students attend orientation, which involves “five days of military boot camp-style living,” Giles said. At one point, the influx of recruits into the program prompted Penn to convert the Palestra into a dining hall exclusively for NROTC.

But Penn’s remained open throughout the decades, at one point including students from more than 22 schools in the Philadelphia area. Columbia, Yale and Harvard universities all reinstated the programs on their campuses last year. A student’s position — whether as a surface warfare officer, aviator, submariner or a Marine — is determined mostly by school GPA, as well as military GPA and physical fitness scores, Giles said.
After attending flight school for three years and completing six years of mandatory service, she hopes to use her language skills as a hispanic studies major to serve as a military diplomat in Latin America. Upon graduation from Army ROTC, you will earn the bar of a Second Lieutenant and be commissioned into the Active Army, Army Reserve or Army National Guard and become a leader for life. Students are given valuable opportunities to build for the future by earning a college degree and an Army Officer's commission simultaneously.
They normally possess a higher level of self-confidence, and superior decision-making abilities. It’s quite a different story, however, for the students doing push-ups in the middle of Franklin Field. Next, most will head to Naval Science class or help raise the flag outside if they’re on colors duty.
James Giles, who runs the NROTC physical training program and serves as a freshman adviser. She also serves as the line of communication between the rest of the midshipmen and the unit staff. Role-playing and management exercises will teach you how to organize tasks, make decisions, and use time efficiently.
Weekly runs and other athletic activities will keep you in peak condition.
Employers for civilian careers value these characteristics and often prefer them when making important hiring decisions.
Presentation skills training and the Cadet Writing Program will round out your instruction.
Best of all, after teaching you a particular leadership skill, ROTC will give you plenty of opportunities to use it — a fact which can make all the difference in whatever you choose to do in life.

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