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Earning a Commission

There are several ways to become an Army Officer (this is known as earning a commission): by attending either the United States Military Academy at West Point, Officer Candidate School or by being accepted into an ROTC program. Direct commissions are also available in certain professional fields. The Dartmouth College Lone Pine Battalion is one of many ROTC programs around the country and a satellite program of Norwich University's "First" Battalion.

Cake Cutting

The Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) allows you to attend the college or university of your choice (more than 700 around the country) while taking courses that prepare you to become an Army Officer when you graduate.

The length of your ROTC program can vary from two to four years. If you enroll as a freshman, you'll take the four-year program. The Basic Course is taken the first two years without a military commitment (unless a scholarship is accepted) and the Advanced Course the last two. You can also choose the two-year program if you have already completed two years at any college (junior college, community college or your first two years at a four-year school), are entering a two-year postgraduate program, or are a high school graduate planning to attend a Military Junior College. The two-year program requires students to complete the equivalent of Basic Course instruction at a four-week Cadet Initial Entry Training before beginning the Advanced Course.

If you successfully complete the ROTC program, you'll graduate with a degree and be commissioned as an Army Officer. You will then be required to serve actively full-time in the Regular Army, or part-time in a Reserve Component; either the Army Reserve or Army National Guard. The Initial Military Service Obligation for all members of the Armed Forces is 8 years total. The active service requirement is typically broken down between 3-4 years Regular Army and 4 years Individual Ready Reserve. However, if you serve part-time the requirement is 6 years of Reserve Component service and 2 years Individual Ready Reserve.

Cadets holding congratulation letters from Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno

The Commissioning Ceremony

Friends and family are invited to celebrate the commissioning of the recent graduates. The ceremony begins with the singing of 'The Army Song' and the National Anthem. Then a guest speaker, usually a retired officer, gives words of advice and encouragement to the soon to be officers. Finally cadets take an oath to their country, sealing their admittance into the Officer Corps of the United States military. In accordance with tradition, family members or friends pin the 2nd lieutenant's rank onto the shoulders of the new officers. After years of training, the newly commissioned officers are finally a part of a long legacy of America's finest leaders.


Talk to your campus Military Science Department about ways to join Army ROTC and incentives available.
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Last Updated: 6/16/15