May 23, 2018 | ° F

Commander introduces Navy ROTC program

Central Jersey Council of the Navy League members meet executive officer

Photo by Alex Van Driesen |

Commander James Crate, executive officer for the Navy ROTC on campus, speaks at the Rutgers Club on the College Avenue campus last night about the program.

The Central Jersey Council of the Navy League of the United States hosted a dinner last night at the Rutgers Club on the College Avenue campus, where Commander James Crate discussed the University’s Navy ROTC training program for aspiring naval officers.

“Given that we’re by the ocean, it does make some sense,” said Richard L. Edwards, University executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “It will provide a number of students with a way to access a quality university education through the scholarships that are provided.”

The University’s Board of Governors approved the establishment of a Department of Naval Science on campus that will staff naval personnel during the semester, said Angus Gillespie, president of the Central Jersey Council of the Navy League.

Students in the NROTC will train to become officers in the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps, he said.

The Navy will cover most of the expenses to maintain the program, excluding tuition costs, in which $1.16 million will establish the unit with an annual cost of $872,000, said Lt. Charity Hardison, a spokeswoman for Naval Service Training Command in a statement.

The University already has ROTC programs for the Army and Air Force, established in 1916 and 1952, respectively, Edwards said.

Nationwide, there are about 60 naval ROTC programs at more than 150 colleges and universities, Gillespie said. The University is the first in the state to have a naval training program in more than 40 years.

“We want the Navy to be a representative for all 50 states. To not have officers from one of the states is a disservice to the nation,” Crate said.

The council chose to host the dinner meeting to give Crate the opportunity to introduce himself to an organization that is interested in supporting the NROTC program at the University, said Daniel Dermer, chief of staff for the council.

Gillespie, professor in the Department of American Studies, said the University is the only non-Ivy League institution chosen by the U.S. Navy to have an NROTC program, in which Crate serves as the executive officer and Commander Philip Roos serves as the commanding officer.

“As an elite university with a diverse student body and a stellar international reputation in engineering and the sciences, Rutgers is a good fit with the NROTC program,” Hardison said in a statement.

Crate said the University’s involvement with the Navy would benefit the school on an individual and community level.

“Don’t you want Rutgers graduates out there representing the maritime services?” Crate said to the crowd. “Don’t you want the Rutgers perspective to influence the United States?”

He said individuals enlisted in the University NROTC program could enjoy both the college experience and the benefits the Navy has to offer.

The program offers selected students a scholarship that covers tuition, fees and the cost of textbooks for four years, along with a monthly stipend of up to $400, Edwards said. In exchange, students commit to serve as an officer for five years after graduation.

NROTC enlistees also have the unique opportunity to participate in summer cruises to see U.S. Navy ships all over the world, Crate said.

Through the cruises, students can experience a flavor of what it is like to be in the Navy in four to six weeks, he said.

Besides naval science courses, students also participate in physical training, unit drills and leadership training while completing requirements for their chosen major, Gillespie said.

Eleven University first-year students are currently enrolled in the program. Officials anticipate enrollment to grow between 65 to 90 students, Edwards said. The goal after four years is to have at least 15 graduates going into the officer corps annually.

The council is made up of non-military families who help military families and educate the general public about what maritime services do, Dermer said.

“The Central Jersey Council supports the sea services in ways the government cannot, to show that there are citizens that appreciate the hard work the [maritime services] are doing,” Gillespie said.

Some services include holding banquets and distributing certificates to deserving maritime personal, he said.

By Alex Meier

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