You’ve completed camp and you’re in your senior year. Welcome to your MS IV year in ROTC. The first order of business for the seniors, at least each fall is to finalize the training plan for the upcoming semester. We bring the seniors back a week early to school and they spend a week finalizing the training calendar, assigning responsibility for the weeks, and coordinating the staff. The week usually ends with a whitewater trip.
The seniors fill the staff positions of a typical Battalion staff. Everything from the Battalion Commander to the personnel officer to the assistant operations officer. Also during this week the seniors will undergo Leadership Development Program (LDP) training. During this training they will baseline how they will evaluate and grade the company and squad level leaders (MS IIIs)during the upcoming year. One senior will be designated the LDP officer, and he or she will monitor and consolidate the evaluations for the upcoming year. This process is the heart of what Army ROTC is about, and the unique program that more than any other aspect of Army ROTC, develops the future leaders for the Army. This is a program of hands on leadership/management and problem solving with constant feedback. The underclassmen go through iterations where they are responsible for a weeks worth of tasks. They receive their mission, formulate a plan, communicate that plan to their subordinate cadets, and supervise the execution of that plan. Whether it’s getting everyone to PT in the right uniform, getting color guard members to the game on Friday, ro executing an ambush during the weekly lab the leadership traits the exhibit, or fail to exhibit are noted and chronicled.
The other significant event as the Seniors return, is branching, where the seniors express their desires for a particular career field, and then the Army Decides what career field they will serve in. this process deserves a post of it’s own, and I will make that happen.
The seniors will continue to drive the training of the Battalion, and provide the primary evaluation and feedback to the juniors during the year. One lucky MS IV will be responsible for the dining out, our formal event. This responsibility is jokingly referred to as the wedding planner, as the event has all the complexity of a wedding. Another cadet will be responsible for the complex planning and coordination required for the Field Training Exercise (FTX) held each semester. These responsibilities are assigned to help further develop the cadets that are only a couple months away from beginning their military careers. The semester, ROTC training, and their college experience ends with the commissioning ceremony, when the cadets take their oath of office, receive their gold bars, and become second lieutenants.
Senior year in a nutshell.