My name is Collin Bond, and I am a sophomore at Maranatha Baptist University. I’ve been a part of the ROTC program since my freshman year, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. But what I enjoy most about it is the camaraderie that we share. I know that I can always count on any of the Cadets or cadre in ROTC no matter what. We are always willing to help each other out, whether it is with classes or if we are struggling with physical fitness. Another thing I enjoy about being in ROTC is the financial opportunities it provides; the ROTC program, coupled with the National Guard, paid for most of my school bills last year and this semester. If I were not in ROTC, I would have a much harder time covering the costs.
As a member of the Wisconsin National Guard, I am eligible to participate in the Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP). This program lets Cadets participate in both the National Guard and ROTC at the same time. There are challenges and benefits to this program. One of the many benefits of being in the SMP program is the extra training you get with your unit and the officers in it. Just like everyone else that is in the National Guard, you go through Basic Training. This past summer I was at Ft. Benning completing Basic and Advanced Individual Training (AIT). The training I got at Ft. Benning was very helpful and taught me many things about myself while I was there. Another benefit is the financial aid you receive. Since I am in ROTC and the National Guard, I am able to draw financial benefits from both sides to help pay for my tuition and fees.
Even though there are many benefits, being an SMP Cadet has its challenges, for example balancing college and Guard time commitments. Since I am in the National Guard, I have to go to drill every month. This can be a big time commitment even though it is just once a month.
All the same, the SMP program is a good choice for anyone who is thinking about joining the National Guard and participating in ROTC. I’m glad I did it.
Cadet Collin Bond