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  • Question regarding SMP

    I am a sophomore in college who is currently enlisting in the Guard. I am switching from the enlisting process of a different branch and have already undergone a physical & taken ASVAB, so all I need to do is an inspect physical at MEPS and then contract. So I could enter the RSP as early as this semester, or so the recruiter says.

    My question is, I know that I can request a slot for BCT for this next summer, but is it possible to skip the spring semester and instead try to complete both BCT & AIT? AIT length will depend on the MOS of course, but I will select specialties which could mean for a total time spent in BCT + AIT of 8-9 months, or maybe even less. My goal is to come back to college by next fall, be eligible for GI bill benefits, and also contract with my battalion as an SMP cadet in the advanced course. My understanding is that completing BCT means that one can skip the general military course (MS1 & MS2) and completion of AIT makes one eligible to receive the GI bill benefits.

    Does this plan seem feasible or no?
    Last edited by Invoker83; September 7th, 2013, 07:13 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Question regarding SMP

    Absolutely. It's generally whati s preferred. However, understand that you do take a risk, sometimes classes in AIT are backed up, and you can be what's called a "holdunder" and sometimes wait a couple weeks to a month to start AIT upon graduation of BCT. They do their best to be cognizant of those kinds of issues however. Infantry, Artillery, and Armor are generally the best ways to avoid that problem altogether. But if you have your heart set on a specific MOS do that if you can; you'll generally be more successful.

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    • #3
      Re: Question regarding SMP

      Disregard the above answer.

      If your intent is to go SMP and contract with ROTC, then all you need is BCT in order to get credit for your MSI and MSII year. AIT will serve you no purpose in terms of ROTC and SMP. GI Bill benefits are done based on time in service. You have to have at least 90 days of NON-TRAINING time in order to qualify for post 9/11.

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      • #4
        Re: Question regarding SMP

        Originally posted by TxIntel 1978 View Post
        You have to have at least 90 days of NON-TRAINING time in order to qualify for post 9/11.
        True, but he should still be eligible for chapter 1606 benefits.

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        • #5
          Re: Question regarding SMP

          Originally posted by TxIntel 1978 View Post
          Disregard the above answer.

          If your intent is to go SMP and contract with ROTC, then all you need is BCT in order to get credit for your MSI and MSII year. AIT will serve you no purpose in terms of ROTC and SMP. GI Bill benefits are done based on time in service. You have to have at least 90 days of NON-TRAINING time in order to qualify for post 9/11.
          Well, ideally I want to be eligible for ROTC advanced course and to receive MGIB-SR benefits. The problem I guess is to make sure I select MOSs whose AIT is not like 6 months long, and also to actually get slots for BCT + AIT for this upcoming spring. But if that is not realistic, then yes I will just do BCT and pay my way through college with FTA and state TA.
          Last edited by Invoker83; September 8th, 2013, 12:18 PM.

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          • #6
            Re: Question regarding SMP

            Ideally, you want to go to ROTC and secure yourself either a Regular Scholarship or a DeDARNG/GRFD scholarship so you don't even have to mess with the GI Bill stuff (save that for your Master's or your kids).

            I can tell you the requirements for the DedARNG and GRFD are a bit different and can be easier to get than a Regular. But, if you can not secure any of those three for yourself, become a non-scholarship MSIII and use your State and Fed TA to pay for it. Again, don't mess with your GI Bill unless you really have to.

            However, here is the link to the Ch 1606 bennies that JD mentioned. It's worth looking into, but OP, do you homework when it comes to this stuff.

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            • #7
              Re: Question regarding SMP

              I know this is possible because I have just joined the National Guard as a junior in college, I get to go to BCT then AIT during the next spring semester and come back and contract with ROTC in fall of 2014 as an MS III. I will finish my bachelors degree after my second year in ROTC as an MS IV while on the SMP program and receiving GI bill benefits. Its a great way to go, your recruiter can make it happen!

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              • #8
                Re: Question regarding SMP

                Originally posted by katelove View Post
                I know this is possible because I have just joined the National Guard as a junior in college, I get to go to BCT then AIT during the next spring semester and come back and contract with ROTC in fall of 2014 as an MS III. I will finish my bachelors degree after my second year in ROTC as an MS IV while on the SMP program and receiving GI bill benefits. Its a great way to go, your recruiter can make it happen!
                katelove... A couple of things you just said cause me concern either due to lack of supporting info or conflicting info.

                A) ARNG Recruiters* have no say so or input into who gets contracted in ROTC. They may have a "buddy" who works in the liaison office at a program, but that's it. There very specific reasons for that being so.

                B) How do you know you will contract with ROTC once you show up on their door, ready to go? Just because you have BCT/AIT under your belt does not mean you get an auto-contract. You have to compete with everyone else just to same. I would hope that a SM who is fresh from IDT will be able to breeze through the APFT, but things like grades, extracurricular, etc still play a part.

                C) Will you be applying for a scholarship? Will you be using FTA or STA? Will you try for the GI Bill 1606 bennies?

                B) When is your BCT date? If you leave soon enough, you'd be home and ready to go for Spring semester. I can tell you... if you do a semester as a non-contracted cadet and show them how awesome you are, getting a contract is a whole lot easier.

                I just don't want to see any OP get pigeonholed into one thing and then get home and see it is not so, especially in dog-eat-dog-eat-poodle world of ROTC.

                *ARNG Recruiters do work in Liaison offices but their role there is to push cadets into DeDARNG or GRFD scholarship and to help transition NG members into the program. They do not work to enlist cadets into MOS schools.

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                • #9
                  Re: Question regarding SMP

                  Sorry for the confusion, no it wasn't my recruiter who got me interested in ROTC, but he does have friends that work in the liaison office for the college in my area. During my recruiting stages, we went there and met with them and after a long interview, they suggested I participate in Ranger Challenge this semester to help prepare me for Basic and agreed to contract with me once I get back next fall. It was a separate process going through them than my Guard enlistment. I work out with the cadre every morning now even though I am not officially in ROTC, I love them and so far they have been impressed with me. I am waiting to go to BCT in January because I was already registered for school this fall and I needed the classes out of the way so I could complete my degree in the time frame I needed. I don't think I will apply for the ROTC scholarship, I prefer to go STA. I should take back what I said about the recruiter making it happen, he just happened to know someone there and made the connection for me. The rest I did myself. It has turned out to be a great path though!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Question regarding SMP

                    What is the reasoning behind wanting to use STA over a scholarship?

                    You get the same end state - a commission and MSO in the Army. But STA eats up your STA benefits that could be used to pay for Grad School or an extra professional cert that you may need in the future. Plus, the scholarship gets your a few other added benefits like book money and a few other things...

                    And, I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the STA office inquires about whether or not you are doing ROTC and may require you to apply for a scholarship before getting benefits.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Question regarding SMP

                      Originally posted by TxIntel 1978 View Post
                      What is the reasoning behind wanting to use STA over a scholarship?

                      You get the same end state - a commission and MSO in the Army. But STA eats up your STA benefits that could be used to pay for Grad School or an extra professional cert that you may need in the future. Plus, the scholarship gets your a few other added benefits like book money and a few other things...
                      I'm assuming that "STA" stands for "State Tuition Assistance." If that's the case, then this is highly state-dependent. In NJ, for example, there is absolutely no limitation on state benefits -- there's nothing to "use up."

                      Originally posted by TxIntel 1978 View Post
                      And, I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the STA office inquires about whether or not you are doing ROTC and may require you to apply for a scholarship before getting benefits.
                      Not every state makes soldiers get involved with a state-level office in order to receive benefits. In NJ you simply get your company commander to sign a certificate stating that you're a drilling member in good standing. This certificate is then turned in to the bursar office at the college which completely waives the tuition from the bill. There are no limitations on this benefit and no further questions are asked.

                      This program is often combined with chapter 1606, 1607, or Post 9/11 benefits to great effect. Furthermore, it incurs none of the obligations that may be associated with use of an ROTC scholarship (and there's no need to compete with anyone to receive these benefits, either).

                      The COA katelove describes is very popular and sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Question regarding SMP

                        Originally posted by Jersey Dirtbag View Post
                        This program is often combined with chapter 1606, 1607, or Post 9/11 benefits to great effect. Furthermore, it incurs none of the obligations that may be associated with use of an ROTC scholarship (and there's no need to compete with anyone to receive these benefits, either).

                        The COA katelove describes is very popular and sounds perfectly reasonable to me.
                        I'll respectfully have to disagree LT.

                        The OP is going to be brand new and will only have the 1606 bennies in for her. In addition, the OP is not excused from any deployments while on 1606 bennies and could be called up while in school. Finally, I don't know of any State where utilizing STA/FTA doesn't incur an MSO.

                        In Texas, our STA will cover (1) Bachelors and (1) Masters plus any certifications (A+, CCNA, Bar, etc).

                        Maybe that's how NJ makes up for severely doinking over there soldiers by having some pretty liberal ed benefits...!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Question regarding SMP

                          Originally posted by TxIntel 1978 View Post
                          The OP is going to be brand new and will only have the 1606 bennies in for her.
                          Not sure how this is relevant. I was drawing benefits within a month or two of graduating from AIT.

                          Originally posted by TxIntel 1978 View Post
                          Finally, I don't know of any State where utilizing STA/FTA doesn't incur an MSO.
                          Actually, you do -- since I just explained how NJ's system works.

                          Originally posted by TxIntel 1978 View Post
                          Maybe that's how NJ makes up for severely doinking over there soldiers by having some pretty liberal ed benefits...!
                          I have been saying for years that the only compelling reason to serve in the NJARNG is the tuition waiver. Unless you count the fact that officers of low caliber who would be forced out of almost any other organization can reach high echelons of authority and the corresponding pay grades.

                          To be clear, I know nothing about ROTC scholarships. But unless it somehow pays you more than your tuition PLUS 1606 benefits, then the tuition waiver combined with 1606 is superior (AND incurs no additional MSO). If I'm missing something...do tell.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Question regarding SMP

                            Originally posted by TxIntel 1978 View Post
                            Maybe that's how NJ makes up for severely doinking over there soldiers by having some pretty liberal ed benefits...!
                            Originally posted by Jersey Dirtbag View Post
                            I have been saying for years that the only compelling reason to serve in the NJARNG is the tuition waiver. Unless you count the fact that officers of low caliber who would be forced out of almost any other organization can reach high echelons of authority and the corresponding pay grades.
                            +1. Amen.

                            Tuition waiver was great while I had it, but NJ didn't have that many incentives to retain junior officers and soldiers. In the past 6 months, my (and your former) company as lost all its LTs to MD ARNG. There are no longer any MOSQ'd LTs. The situation has become untenable for junior officers to consider staying in NJ as a viable career option if there were better alternatives. Let's be honest. The types of missions NJ has taken in the past is indicative of the NJ ARNG's war fighting capabilities.

                            MD offered a growing tech/defense sector with plenty of high income jobs, lower taxes, more affordable housing, and the proximity to the Pentagon and generally means more/better opportunities to develop your reserve career.

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