Jump Start Your United States ROTC Career
By Arin Fowler
As many know, the Reserve Officers Training Corps is the most common way for soldiers to earn a commission as an officer in the United States Army. ROTC careers enable cadets to attend college and receive their commission at the same time. This saves cadets the time that it would take for them to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) after they enlisted in the Army.
This is not the only way that ROTC careers can help cadets move forward with their US Army Career. There are also certain Army schools that cadets can attend during their college’s summer break. Every year a certain amount of ROTC cadets are given the opportunity to attend these schools, which are usually reserved only for Army personnel, and earn their respective badges.
AIR ASSAULT SCHOOL
At this school, cadets are instructed on how to conduct air assault operations, which involve a variety of helicopter insertion techniques. Air Assault School is a 10-day course that is quite physically demanding, including a 12-mile road march. The course is divided into three main phases. Phase 1 is designed to give cadets a familiarization combat aircraft, as well as train them to utilize air support during combat. Examples of what is taught during this phase is how to efficiently coordinate MEDEVAC flights and how to plan combat air assaults. Phase 2 instructs cadets on the proper use of helicopters during sling-load operations. Phase 3 teaches cadets the techniques of rappelling and properly exiting their aircraft via fast-roping: an insertion technique during which soldiers can exit their helicopter while it is still airborne at up to 100 feet.
The Army Airborne School is a 3-week course that instructs cadets on how to exit aircraft via parachute. During this school, cadets become experts in jump safety, starting by training on the ground. After they become confident with ground drills, the cadets progress to the tower stage of training. The tower stage instructs cadets on how to efficiently exit their aircraft as a unit, as well as continue to solidify their individual skills. Finally, during the last phase of Airborne School, the cadets must successfully complete five actual jumps from an aircraft in order to graduate.
Both Air Assault School and Airborne School are ROTC careers available in between school terms. Completing these courses during ROTC allows the cadets to get deployed to their unit very quickly upon completion of their ROTC program.