The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Servicemen, women explain ROTC types, civilian career options on South Campus

By Ashley Johnson/reporter

Each military branch has a value system and a specific mission statement that goes along with it, the South career center director said Nov. 15.“Semper Fidelis — always faithful, the few, the proud — which service am I?” Monica Miranda asked during Career Clusters and Military Careers: Making the Connection.

The answer: the Marine Corps.

Often when people choose a military branch, it’s because their own value system and code of honor goes with that branch’s mission statement, Miranda said.

“Many people want to go into the military, but they want to have a civilian career when they retire or get out,” she said.

Many military veterans are coming out trying to find employment. Career clusters and occupational codes can help a person determine what career they might enjoy, Miranda said.

“The career clusters can show a person how the experience gained from the military can cross over into a civilian career,” she said. 

People who have degrees going into the military can choose jobs such as an enlisted member or an officer since the position requires a certain level of education, Miranda said. Enlisted members perform specific job functions and have the knowledge that ensures the success of their units’ current mission. Warrant officers are highly specialized experts and trainers in their career field. Commissioned officers are the problem solvers and planners. They lead enlisted servicemen and women in all situations, she said.

Air Force ROTC cadets Angel Guereca and Nathan Gomez gave key information about the benefits of ROTC.

Guereca said joining the Air Force is challenging, but it teaches a person teamwork and how to serve the country with honor.

“There are many reasons to join the Air Force,” he said. “You get to fly jets, and there’s a lot of fitness training, so you get to stay active.”

The Army ROTC detachment is located at Texas Christian University, but the program charters to five other schools: the University of Texas at Arlington, Dallas Baptist University, Texas Wesleyan University, Weatherford College and TCC.

College students can qualify for scholarships after being in the program one year, Gomez said. The national scholarships put applicants up against the board of cadets from across the country. GPA, Air Force qualifying test, commander’s ranking and program activity will determine if a person gets a scholarship, he said.

“If you’re a junior in college and a sophomore in the program, you can be awarded the national scholarship. For your books, you’ll get $900, and also, you’ll get a stipend or allowance,” Gomez said.

ROTC has many phases, Guereca said. The first consists of taking a general military course as a freshman or sophomore during which students learn leadership skills.

“You don’t actually have to be a freshman in college to be a freshman in the program,” Gomez said. “I came in as a junior, and I was able to take my freshman and sophomore year courses in the ROTC program.”

After two years of being in the program, cadets are required to take a four-week course at Maxwell Air Force Base. Guereca said that is the time where freshman and sophomores in the ROTC program put their skills to the test.

“After field training, you decide if you want to become a contracted cadet,” Gomez said. “If you do, you commit to your bachelor’s degree and accept the Air Force commission. The commission is a minimum of four years.”

Within 30 days of completing the program, participants are commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force and enter active duty at the job site in about two weeks, Gomez said. Second lieutenants get paid around $33,000 starting out, he said.

“People look at the number and think, ‘Oh, that’s not a lot.’ As a civilian, it isn’t, but you can make the $33,000, and once you add up all the benefits, it’s going to balance itself out,” Gomez said. “I think if you’re stationed in California, you get a housing allowance of $2,000 to $3,000. That doesn’t even include food.”

When people go on active duty, they’ll be in command of numerous soldiers, Gomez said.

“I’ve had second lieutenants tell me they’ve had between 400 to 500 soldiers that they’re responsible for,” he said.

Jobs can involve acquisitions, computers, engineering, legal, flying, navigating, medical, etc. Personal preferences, GPA and physical fitness will usually determine a person’s job in the military, Guereca said.

“I knew I wanted to fly,” Gomez said. “And I’m glad I stuck with it because of all the skills I learned.”

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