Green to Gold – Hip Pocket Scholarships

My Gold Bar Recruiter this summer was 2LT Taylor Richardson.  Taylor commissioned this past spring and he came to the Golden Knight Battalion on a 3 year Green to Gold scholarship.  Taylor served previously as a medic at Fort Drum.  He branched Medical Service Corps after earning a biology degree from SUNY Potsdam.  Here is what he has to tell us about the Hip Pocket Scholarship program.

Richardson

The Army ROTC Green to Gold Division Commander’s Hip Pocket Scholarship Program provides selected Soldiers the opportunity to complete their baccalaureate degree requirements and obtain a commission through participation in the ROTC Scholarship program. Each year, division commanders may nominate deserving Soldiers for two, three, and four-year Green to Gold scholarships. Units are encouraged to nominate Soldiers that have exhibited the potential for further outstanding service to the United States and the Army as Commissioned Officers. Interested Soldiers are encouraged to follow-up with their chain of command.

I am a product of the Hip Pocket Scholarship Program. In 2015, I was awarded a 3-year scholarship from Fort Drum to attend State University of New York at Potsdam. The host school for the Army ROTC program here is Clarkson University. I had the opportunity to earn my degree and at the same time develop as a leader. In May of 2018 I commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps with a degree in Biology from SUNY Potsdam. Here are a few lessons that I learned while in ROTC.

I quickly discovered that the ROTC program is not the same as Active duty service. It is important to keep in mind that this is a leadership course and the Cadre here have years of leadership experience. I was able to learn a great deal about leadership from my cadre. All cadets are given the opportunity to lead soldiers in field training exercises. The Cadre were always available and willing to answer any questions that I had. Overall, I learned a great deal while attending ROTC and I was able to develop myself while I practiced my leadership skills.

 

The ROTC Program is cadet run, so when you first attend the program, you may enter as an MSII or MSIII. I was able to learn from my seniors and peers how the program worked and what was expected of me. A typical ROTC class will progress together through the years and eventually graduate together, this provides for a tight knit group of friends. As you progress through the program the level of responsibility increases. As an MSIV you will be expected to run the ROTC program as a class, with oversight and approval from the cadre. This means that mistakes will be made and lessons will be learned. This was a good experience of being able to settle into a new leadership role and get the experience needed when you return to a new unit.

Lastly ROTC is good fun. There were plenty of opportunities available to all cadets such as Air Assault, and Airborne schools, the Ranger Challenge Competition, and the ROTC sports teams. This is a good time to attend school and take a small break from the Army life.

If you are looking into the Army Green to Gold Program, I would highly recommend taking the steps to take advantage of this opportunity. I would also recommend considering Clarkson University as your ROTC program of choice, the cadre here are highly qualified, and the training is excellent. Good luck in your future careers.

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