Simultaneous program combines Army officer training, Guard service | NevadaAppeal.com

Simultaneous program combines Army officer training, Guard service

Cadet Nicolette De Los Angeles
University of Nevada, Reno, ROTC program

Cadet Michael Colyer completes an obstacle course during a Reserve Officer Training Corps Leadership Development and Assessment Course last summer.

RENO – College students interested in becoming a military officer while also serving in the Nevada National Guard may want to consider joining the U.S. Army's Simultaneous Membership Program.

The SMP program is comprised of full-time college students enrolled in their school's Reserve Officer Training Programs who also serve as Army National Guard Soldiers.

Upon completion of their bachelor's degree (or master's degree) and the ROTC's advanced course, SMP cadets receive commissions as second lieutenants in the Army. The newly-commissioned officers then serve in the Army National Guard, the Army Reserves or on active duty. The officers' service obligation time is usually eight years.

Currently in the Nevada National Guard, there are 29 Soldiers participating in the SMP program at the University of Nevada, Reno, and 14 Soldiers participating in the program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

There are many economic and educational benefits associated with the Simultaneous Membership Program.

The SMP program provides cadets a monthly ROTC stipend of $350 for sophomores, $450 for juniors and $500 for seniors. The cadets also receive E-5 (sergeant's) pay for their National Guard drill. (Higher-ranking Soldiers receive increased drill pay dependent on their military pay schedule.) Qualifying Soldiers can also receive their G.I. Bill benefits.

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On campus, cadets strive to become effective leaders in both a garrison and tactical environments through lectures and hands-on training.

During their training weekends with the National Guard, SMP cadets apply their classroom training in a real-world military environment with their respective Nevada Guard units – an opportunity unavailable to traditional ROTC cadets. The cadets learn about leadership during their National Guard drills as they "shadow" a lieutenant and are responsible for multiple unit tasks and duties.

SMP cadets also qualify for tuition assistance programs offered by both the National Guard and ROTC.

Reserve Army forces also offer Guaranteed Reserve Force Duty scholarships to cadets who opt to serve as second lieutenant in the National Guard or Army Reserves rather than the active duty Army. The scholarships include $5,000 for tuition and $600 for books. Because Nevada state university fees are waived for Nevada Guard Soldiers, however, the funds could go toward other college-related expenses.

For information on the UNLV SMP, call 702-895-0452. For information on the UNR program, call 775-682-7472.