UCSB’s Military Science Departmen awarded six Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets full scholarships at a ceremony in Webb Hall on Wednesday afternoon.
The brief ceremony, which around 50 people attended, honored the cadets who received the three-year scholarships. The scholarships consisted of up to $17,000 in annual tuition, $600 for books and a $300 monthly stipend.
The scholarship recipients also recited an Oath of Office at the ceremony that inducted them into the army. Cadet Cpl. Andrew Vogel, a sophomore history major and scholarship recipient, said the oath stipulates that the recipients stay with the ROTC program, be commissioned as second lieutenants in the army once they graduate from UCSB and serve at least four active years in the military.
UCSB’s ROTC program is part of the 14th Brigade, which has its headquarters in Monterey, Calif. and includes a total of 19 universities in California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. Applicants for the ROTC scholarships came from various universities in those states. ROTC Captain Jeff Rains said selection of scholarship recipients depends on the number of applicants and the price of tuition at their respective schools.
Rains, who is also the recruitment operations officer at UCSB and freshmen military science advisor, said the application process consists of a personal interview and a one-page letter of recommendation usually written by Rains that describes the cadet’s qualifications as an athlete, scholar and leader. The cadets must also maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA and be actively involved in university clubs and organizations.
The applicants were all considered leaders among their peers, Rains said.
“Both in the classroom and the military science classes and then also at labs where we go and practice hands-on experience with military skills – they’ve emerged as leaders,” Rains said.
He said applicants are typically former high school athletes and are required to remain active in college through intramurals or the department’s physical fitness training program.
Cadet Cpl. Ryan Porte, a sophomore history and political science major and scholarship recipient, said he felt proud about having been awarded the scholarship out of all the applicants from so many other universities.
“I felt very good about myself because we’re not competing against our battalion – we’re competing against the entire West Coast,” he said. “Right now with the budget cuts and that sort of thing it’s much harder to get something like that this year.”
ROTC teaches cadets self-discipline and keeps them focused on their responsibilities, Porte said.
“It gives me the discipline to wake up and take full advantage of my day and kind of keeps me from wasting my time here at UC Santa Barbara,” he said. “It really is something that keeps you motivated, keeps you straight, keeps you focused on academics, athletics and on your community. It’s a great program.”
Undeclared sophomore and Cadet Cpl. Gus Castronovo, also a scholarship recipient, said he considers the ROTC a form of doing one’s national duty.
“Watching the 9/11 really hit home for me and I feel like it’s a great way for me to do my duty, get my education and a good whole experience,” he said. “It just seems to fit together very well.”
Vogel said the ROTC program also helps to bring out leadership qualities in its cadets.
“[ROTC] doesn’t really develop qualities so much as reveals them … You just don’t go out there every day or whenever we train and just learn how to kill people,” he said. “That’s not what we do. As officers they teach us to be managers, primarily leaders, so it’s a lot of people-oriented skills being taught.”
In order to join the ROTC, prospective cadets must be U.S. citizens, pass a medical exam and complete an army physical fitness test which consists of push-ups, sit-ups and a two-mile run. Once cadets, they must complete one military science elective per quarter while pursuing their respective majors.
During their first two years in the ROTC, cadets have no obligation to become future army officers. As juniors they are asked to sign a contract that states they will serve a minimum of eight years in the National Guard or Reserve. Three of those years are spent in active service, while the other five are spent on reserve, Rains said.
Upon completion of the ROTC program, Rains said graduating cadets will be commissioned by the president to serve as officers in the military, where they will be called on to use the skills they developed in the program.