Senior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (SROTC) Battalions
Out of the 7,000-plus Soldiers in the 108th Training Command, only three were selected by the Office of the Chief of the Army Reserve (OCAR) for its international programs in 2017. Remarkably, all three come from the same Army Reserve battalion: the 4-414th Regiment Senior Reserve Officers Training Corps, West (SROTC “West”).
OCAR creates a selection board that chooses candidates for three distinct opportunities: the Military Reserve Exchange Program (MREP), the Young Reserve Officer Workshop (YROW), and the French Immersion Course with Inter-allied Confederation of Reserve Officers Language Academy (CIOR CLA). The 4-414th Battalion — and the 108th Command for that matter – is the only command to make a clean sweep this year, winning all three categories.
That’s just the beginning. The 4-414th has a magnetic ability to attract talent. The 4-414th has one of top 100 MBA graduates in the country, two Goldman Sachs interns (out of the eight nationwide/stateside), and two recent TPU resident Intermediate Education (ILE) graduates. 4-414th also boasts an Olympian, four PhDs (or candidates), and a dozen civil servants. And the 4-414th has a state judge, two prosecutors, a published author, and three Reserve Instructors of the Year in its formation. The examples continue: a university provost recently wrote a letter to a 4-414th NCO instructor, Master Sergeant Richard Dalton, congratulating him for being among the best instructors at the institution, which includes competing against other PhD faculty (the NCO does not have a PhD, by the way).
So why do all these interesting people gravitate to the same unit? The answer lies in the SROTC mission — and the area of operations. The SROTC battalions’ mission involves developing future officers during their formative years as college students. Consequently, SROTC battalions are on university campuses – a strong incentive to Reserve members who become aware of the unique opportunity. University campuses also serve as a prime recruiting location for departing active duty talent seeking advanced degrees. The SROTC battalions’ vast reach extends to all 50 states and U.S. territories where universities have Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs. They have unit members located in Hawaii and Maine – and everywhere in between.
Captain (promotable) Josh Rodriguez who is top 100 MBA graduate in the country and a former Goldman Sachs intern from Seattle University, Albers School of Business, had this to say about being part of the SROTC mission, “Drilling at the ROTC department while getting an MBA has been an incredible experience. It’s very easy to schedule more time with the local ROTC battalion when you’re only a quarter mile away and I found myself more effective and present for the cadets as well. As an MBA candidate I led the veterans association and was able to leverage the influence as an instructor to bring some of our military’s best leaders to come and speak both to our ROTC department and business school students. Integrating the ROTC department with some of the activities at the business school also exposed cadets commissioning as Reservists to a variety of industries they can matriculate into when not wearing the uniform. It’s been an all-around positive experience and every Soldier transitioning out of the Army and into b-school should put some serious thought into joining the 4-414th – a wonderful way to give back.”
Statistically, the 4-414th has twice the Army average of women in its formation and it sends a sizable number of its members to joint assignments after their tenure. Another talented cohort can be found in its sister battalion, the 4-413th Regiment (SROTC “East”) — whose leader, Lt. Col. William M. Sharp, went through Special Forces, twice – once as an enlisted member and once as an officer.
As a talent magnet, the 4-414th certainly made an impact on OCAR’s international selection board this year. In the end, OCAR selected Major Daniel Morse, an Assistant Professor of Military Science (APMS) at the University of California-Berkeley to go to Estonia. OCAR selected Captain Megan Allen, a recruiter for the 4-414th, to go to the Czech Republic. And, OCAR selected MAJ Andrea Rodriguez-Hardman, an APMS at California State University-Fullerton to go to Poland. In the entire Army Reserve, Morse was one of fifteen selected, Allen was one of five, and Rodriguez-Hardman was only one of two. Allen was also invited to brief members of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon upon the completion of her experience.
As an SROTC battalion commander, it is easy for me to showcase the talent in the formation. But, I really don’t need to say much – the facts speak for themselves – who these people are don’t change regardless of what I say about them.
It’s my job, however, to keep their talent in the Reserve – to make us all better.