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Navy ROTC program to launch in fall 2012

Joining two existing programs on campus, the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps will make its debut on campus starting fall of 2012.

The University’s Board of Governors approved the creation of an academic Department of Naval Science last Wednesday to provide a four-year program of naval science.

“The NROTC program offers a fantastic opportunity for students interested in the Navy to finally realize their dreams,” said Richard Edwards, interim executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “We’ve offered the ROTC for the Army and Air Force for a long time, but the NROTC is a fresh new start.”

Furthermore, the program will be the first and only NROTC program to be offered in New Jersey, Edwards said.

The program works to educate and train young individuals for leadership positions in the Navy and Marine Corps, said Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy.

“We can tell you that NROTC midshipmen are among the best and brightest students in the country,” Mabus said. “The NROTC program develops young men and women morally, mentally and physically, and instills in them the highest ideals of honor, courage and commitment.”

Edwards warns however, that the standards are set high for the naval cadets.

“Students can major in whatever they choose, but they also have to complete courses that are specified by the Navy, with the additions of the normal course load of college,” he said.

The Naval Science curriculum will be a four-year curriculum consisting of approximately 27-33 credits, Edwards said. Cadets can choose an academic major and meet all other requirements for their school of enrollment.

The Navy will develop the content and curricular materials for these courses. It will then go through an approval process at the University, which will create a Core Requirements Committee that has the responsibility to review and approve the curriculum, he said. 

This committee will involve faculty from the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Communication and Information, the School of Management and Labor Relations and the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Edwards said. Faculty from other units may be added.

Students must complete a year of calculus by the end of their sophomore year and another year of calculus-based physics by the end of their junior year, Edwards said.

Cadets are also required to participate in physical drills and tests like other military personnel, he said. In addition, they must pass other requirements such as correctable 20/20 vision.

In the summer, NROTC students will spend time on ships and submarines to train, he said. After their first year, they spend four to six summer weeks with regular naval units to train and cover all aspects of the navy. This allows for students to explore further specializing opportunities.

The Department of Naval Science is established primarily for naval students, so they will have preference for naval courses over other University students. But if there are openings, University students not affiliated with ROTC are free to take the classes, Edwards said.

Like the other units, NROTC offers a four-year scholarship program, Mabus said.

“If you’re coming from high school, you should have a strong GPA with good SAT scores, along with the physical requirements for all military personnel, including unit drills and physical training,” he said.

Applications are reviewed by a selection board based on current Navy and Marine Corps officer production requirements and are ranked against other applicants, Mabus said. If nominated, the individual must successfully complete all other eligibility requirements.

This also benefits the other divisions on campus, said Lt. Col. Kenneth Patterson, professor for Military Science for Army ROTC.

Edwards said the NROTC coming to campus is a great benefit for the other ROTC divisions, because it allows the Army and Air Force divisions to train with them and share ideas.

Patterson said that the Army and Air Force divisions worked hard with the University as well as the Department of the Navy to convince them that the University is the right place for an NROTC unit.

Through the program, students will come out as ensigns in the military and will have a five-year commitment, Edwards said.

He said the benefits of the NROTC program would extend beyond the military. Students will come out with highly advanced technical skills, along with leadership abilities to help them land quality jobs.

Even though the specific requirements are not online yet at the University, the NROTC website at www.nrotic.navy.mil provides information for prospective students interested in the program, Mabus said.

Fifteen students are expected to graduate every year, Edwards said. After a four-year phase in period, the minimum enrollment would be somewhere between 65 to 90 students across all four years of the program, which is comparable to the Army and Air Force.

The Army ROTC currently enrolls 121 cadets while the Air Force enrolls 68, he said. The Army produces an average of 15 commissioned second lieutenants while the Air Force commissions 10 second lieutenants.

While the military pays for teachers, the University will be funding the NROTC house, which will be located on 12 Lafayette Street, and other minor secretarial duties, Edwards said.

Planning for the NROTC program began in 2009, when the University’s administrators contacted the Navy about the NROTC program, he said. The Navy responded favorably and discussions ensued.

Communications continued on the establishment of the program, and in March 2010, the University officially applied to host the NROTC unit, Mabus said.

“Rutgers has been extraordinarily supportive for the establishment of the NROTC,” Patterson said. “We look forward to helping them make their footprint at Rutgers, help get them settled in the campus and beat them in flag football.”

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