GMC News

WR campus of GMC adds Army ROTC program

WR campus of GMC adds Army ROTC program By ANDREA CASTILLO WARNER ROBINS — The Warner Robins campus of Georgia Military College will begin this fall offering its students the opportunity to participate in the U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program. Already offered at the school’s main campus in Milledgeville, Georgia Military College will provide the option to its Warner Robins students through a cross-enrollment agreement with Mercer University. It is a “win-win situation” for both schools, said Lt. Col. James Lopez, Georgia Military College professor of military science and Battalion Commander for the Old Capitol Guard Battalion at the school. The collaboration with Mercer is not a new one for the school, as Georgia Military College has hosted Mercer’s ROTC program for about 15 years, Lopez said. During their time at Georgia Military College, participating students will enroll in military science courses and participate in physical training and field training exercises. There is no cost to the student, and the courses are considered college elective credits. After completing a degree at the Warner Robins school, ROTC students can continue to participate in the program beyond the introductory two years and enroll at Mercer. Students who continue in the program, including those receiving an Army ROTC Scholarship — which covers tuition and other expenses — would also serve eight years in the Army, with several options to complete that commitment, Lopez said. To be accepted into the program, students must have a high school GPA of 2.5, a score of 920 on the SAT or 19 on the ACT, and undergo a physical fitness and medical examination. Participation in the program at Georgia Military College also helps students better prepare for a four-year degree by building their skills, Lopez said. If the program is successful in Warner Robins, it may be expanded to other Georgia Military College campuses across the state, Lopez said. Currently, there are 132 students participating in the ROTC program at Georgia Military College’s Milledgeville campus, along with another 43 at Mercer. While there are no specific numbers for participation at the Warner Robins campus yet, a large number of the 800 local high school students surveyed said they would consider participating in a program at Georgia Military College’s Warner Robins campus, Lopez said. Many high school students in the area already participate in the Air Force ROTC and would have applicable experience for the new Army ROTC program, according to Ted Ramsdell, director of GMC’s Warner Robins campus. “There’s a lot of participation in Warner Robins, and it’s an opportunity to continue at a school nearby,” he said. Some students, such as sophomore Natasha Miller, of Macon, already look forward to the opportunities the new program can offer. Miller, 30, previously considered a military career, but could not commit to full-time service while raising two young children. Drawn to the leadership and responsibility required for the ROTC, she wants to use the opportunity to explore all aspects of a military career, and perhaps join the Army Reserve one day. “If I couldn’t go into the service, I could do something related to it,” she said. To contact writer Andrea Castillo, call 256-9751.