The Dickinson Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), locally known as The Blue Mountain Battalion, is a leadership-development program deepening the liberal-arts experience at Dickinson by cultivating the ability to organize, motivate and lead others. It is the cornerstone of Army officer training that develops students, known as Cadets, into future officers in the U.S. Army. Dickinson is the host school with Cadets from Gettysburg College, Millersville University and Penn State Harrisburg participating in the program. Any student may participate in military-science courses without military obligation. Men and women who choose to contract in and successfully complete the program receive a commission as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army National Guard or U.S. Army Reserve upon graduation.
A two-part program
The four-year program focuses on critical thinking, principles of leadership, management, ethics and military history. It consists of two parts:
- Basic Course: Typically taken during the first and second years. Includes one class per week, physical training and a leadership lab.
- Advanced Course: Typically taken during the junior and senior years. Includes one class per week, physical training and leadership exercises over several weekends each semester.
The curriculum includes classroom instruction and practical exercises such as orienteering, paintball, rappelling and field training exercises. In the summer between their junior and senior years, Cadets attend a four-week Leadership Development and Assessment Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Students are encouraged to round out their education through social, cultural and professional activities outside of class. Opportunities include:
- Study abroad
- Varsity and club athletics
- Ranger Challenge Team (physically challenging competitive events)
- Color Guard
- Voluntary summer training courses
- Government Internships
Students who complete the advanced course are prepared for service as commissioned officers in the active Army, or part-time in the Army Reserve or Army National Guard. Newly commissioned officers must serve in the active or reserve component for 8 years (3-4 years on active duty and the remainder with the Individual Ready Reserve, or part-time with the Army National Guard or Army Reserve).
Cadets may choose from career fields in Air Defense Artillery, Armor, Aviation, Chemical Corps, Corps of Engineers, Field Artillery, Infantry, Military Police, Military Intelligence, Signal Corps, Adjutant General's Corps, Finance, Ordnance, Quartermaster Corps, Transportation Corps, Medical Service Corps and Nurse Corps.
Opportunities exist for specialized summer training, including cultural trips abroad, Cadet Troop Leader Training, Airborne School, Air Assault School, Mountain Warfare School and internships with active-duty Army units or federal government agencies.
Scholarships and financial aid
Various types and lengths of scholarships are available including: General merit-based scholarships up to 4 years, Guaranteed Reserve Force Duty in the Army National Guard or Army Reserve, Science Technology Engineering and Math Majors, and select Language Majors.
Scholarship Cadets receive: full tuition and fees, a subsistence allowance of up to $500 a month and a book allowance of $1,200 a year.
Contracted Cadets can earn up to $2000 per semester for attaining a B- or better in a variety of strategic languages.
Non-scholarship contracted Cadets receive a subsistence allowance of up to $500 a month.
Non-scholarship and some types of scholarship Cadets may also become part of Army Reserve or Army National Guard units while in ROTC to receive additional benefits.
Any student may take Military Science classes, but in order to contract into Army ROTC, a student must be:
- Enrolled full-time, working toward a bachelor's or graduate degree
- Reasonably physically fit and medically qualified
- A U.S. citizen
- Under age 31 at graduation
Although the program is designed to start with new first-year students each fall, it is possible to enter the program as late as fall of the junior year. Students with prior military service or those who complete a 28-day summer training camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky, may bypass the basic course-level training.
Cadets are expected to complete the following during the program:
- Approximately five hours per week of training during the first and second years
- About 10 hours per week of training for juniors and seniors
- A 29-day summer training course between the junior and senior years
If you think you have what it takes and the desire to be a leader in the U.S. Army, take the first step by signing-up for a military-science class and contacting the military-science coordinator.