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Is ROTC Making a Comeback?

Monday, August 30th, 2010

More news on the ROTC front. According to Time magazine, Harvard University’s ROTC program commissioned 11 officers this May. This is no small achievement. Since Harvard does not officially recognize ROTC, cadets must travel to nearby MIT to participate and receive no-course credit for ROTC classes. (Generous alumni help cover commuting costs and cross-registration fees—or else, cadets would be paying out of their own pockets for the opportunity to serve their country.) Here’s how Time describes the hectic schedule of one Navy cadet:

Shawna Sinnott spent the last four years performing a balancing act: she took courses for her self-designed major at Harvard, practiced her jazz number for the Miss Massachusetts Pageant, and woke up at 4:30 a.m. three days a week for Navy ROTC training across town at MIT …

… “I was very surprised, some people [on campus] have never met anyone in uniform,” says Sinnott, who is now a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corp. “That was shocking for me growing up in a military family.”

Until the status quo changes, there are at least some undergraduates at elite institutions who will continue to travel to ROTC programs on other campuses. “It’s about the same time commitment as a varsity sport,” Sinnott says of her years in ROTC. “But the stakes are higher because what you’re doing determines if people are going to live or die.”

As they say, read the whole thing.

Cross-posted at the Enterprise Blog.