AROTC: Army Reserve Officer Training Corps

The Life of a Cadet

Seize the day. When when you become an Arctic Warrior, you join a tight-knit community of driven individuals who start each day with purpose and have fun together. Each week you attend class (Tuesdays, 1500–1600), a hands-on leadership lab (Thursdays, 1600–1800), and participate in three- to five one-hour physical fitness sessions (0600–0700). Each semester you participate in a number of exciting activities. During the summer, choose one of many activities to enhance your career.

Academic Year Activities

Students in the ROTC Gym

Day of Challenges

Day of Challenges is an event that Michigan Tech Army ROTC puts on with the local VFW for middle and high school kids. It is held on a Saturday in February and kids from all over the area and even adjacent states participate. Events change every year but  generally there is a swimming portion followed by an obstacle course and a physical fitness test. Most recently, we had a challenge involving night vision goggles, an escape room, and laser tag. This event counts as a recruiting event for the OML as well as service hours. It is a great time interacting with the kids and giving them a taste of what the military could have in store for them.

Runners in the Alpine Run

Husky Alpine Mountain Run

The Husky Alpine Mountain Run (HAMR) is a grueling 5k and 10k race on Mont Ripley covering over 1,000 ft of elevation. This race is a fundraiser put on every fall by the Michigan Tech Department of Military Science. Every year a local nonprofit organization is selected to receive a portion of the proceeds. We have worked with the Portage Health Foundation to support flood relief as well as Copper Country Senior Meals.  

Cannon Crew firing the Howitzer Cannon

Athletic Events

When it comes to athletics, ROTC Cadets perform duties that no other students ever get the chance to. Performing Drill and Ceremony at the beginning of Michigan Tech football games is an honor that is limited to a small number of cadets. Cadets walk the flag out to the middle of the field and stand there while the National Anthem plays. Another responsibility a limited amount of cadet’s share is firing the Howitzer Cannon at football games. When the players run out on the field, and whenever Tech scores, designated cadets take turns firing the cannon. The last major opportunity that cadets have when it comes to Tech sports is working at hockey games. During home games, cadets are able to promote the Army ROTC program, as well as fund cadet activities, by ushering them.

Cadets and Command in formal attire at tables in the ROTC gym

Dining In

Dining In is a fun fall semester social event held at the ROTC building. Cadets share a meal together, and perform class skits—and they also have to follow a list of mystery rules designed to make the night more entertaining.
Skits are written by one class, and performed by another. Victors are determined by the military instructors. Overall, it is a great bonding time to help build camaraderie between the cadets in the battalion and give them a night of fun in the middle of the semester.

Four person color guard in formation

Color Guard

Bearing a rifle or flag on the color guard team is an honorable responsibility that teaches cadets leadership and communication skills in a way unique to its actions. As a member of the team, cadets display the symbols of freedom for events both large and small within and outside of the ROTC. Some local events include marching in the Keweenaw Day Parade, Husky Alpine Mountain Run, presenting for the national anthem at football games on Sherman Field, and posting the colors for award ceremonies at official ROTC events. The color guard team makes an appearance at graduation ceremonies, the Winter Carnival hockey game, and select campus events.

Participating in color guard builds the relationship between the Army and Air Force cadets, as members from both branches work together. The leadership, communication, and relational skills involved with color guard events are what makes a presentation of the colors bring a cohesion and sense of mutual respect into the room. As the national anthem plays, cadets present the flags and rifles in front of crowds of all sizes. Cadets are rewarded with a strong sense of honor behind their purpose as a member of the color guard and that honor is what makes color guard such a special privilege.

Air Force and Army Cadets with guests at Military Ball

Military Ball

Military Ball is an annual formal event held in all branches of service. Michigan Tech’s Army and Air Force ROTC also plan their own Military Ball to further this tradition. Cadets and Cadre from each program spend time socializing and building esprit de corps. The event is held at the end of spring semester, allowing people to take a break from studying for finals as well as cap the year off with great conversations with friends. The event, while formal, is not intimidating. The event is held in a setting which provides great food and great experiences. Throughout the night, attendees have their fair share of food, laughs, and farewells, as some cadets move on to commission into the Army and Airforce and will depart from Michigan Tech. Military Ball not only brings memories to cadets but also provides them with soft skills to make them future leaders of the military and beyond.

Summer Activities

Parachuter jumping from a plane

Airborne School

Airborne School is a three-week program in Fort Benning, Georgia, consisting of three phases: ground week, tower week, and jump week. The first week is spent learning how to land properly on the ground and conducting physical training. At the end of this week you jump from a 34 foot tower. Tower week is then filled with practice jumps from a 250 foot tower and learning to exit a C-130 aircraft properly. And finally, jump week is culmination of the school when soldiers conduct their first jumps from a C-130. Throughout the week there will be five jumps completed from 1,200 feet in the air. One of those jumps is during the night. After successfully completing all the jumps the soldier will receive the basic parachutist badge. 

Helicopter with people dropping down on rope.

Air Assault School

Air Assault School is a 10-day course that trains soldiers in working with helicopters. The school is conducting in three phases. During phase one, lasting three days, there is rigorous physical training, with the first day beginning with a six mile ruck march. Soldiers then go to class to learn about helicopter operations and how to work with them safely for three days. Phase two, lasting three days, is spent training on sling load operations. Sling loading is the process of attaching a Humvee or cargo to the bottom of a helicopter. The final three days are spent repelling. Soldiers and cadets will learn, practice, and properly complete four different repels. Two of which are from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. Upon completion, soldiers and cadets will conduct a 12 miles ruck march, graduate, and receive their air assault badges. 

Cadet in a harness getting ready to drop from a tower

Sapper School

Sappers throughout time have proven their abilities to build and repair fortifications, reform the countryside with demolitions and heavy equipment to weaken the enemy, and lead the infantry to victory on the battlefield. The Sapper Leader Course is a 28-day course designed to train you in small unit tactics, leadership skills, and tactics required to perform as part of a team. The first two weeks cover general subjects including medical, land navigation, demolitions, air and water operations, mountaineering, landmines and weaponry. The remaining days include reviewing basic patrolling and battle drills that emphasize leadership, a three-day situation training exercise, and a five-day field training exercise.

Cadets laying on the ground face up with commander over

Ranger Challenge

Ranger Challenge is a day-long competition against other ROTC programs in the Task Force. Ranger challenge takes place at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, each fall but training happens during the summer months.

The competition involves several Army skills including land navigation, squad tactics, call in an artillery strike, perform medical evaluation and extraction for a casualty, show weapon proficiency, make a one-rope bridge, and finish with a long and arduous ruck march.

After winning the Task Force Ranger Challenge at Fort McCoy, the team moves on to Fort Leonard Wood for Brigade-wide Ranger Challenge, then finally to West Point to compete in the annual Sandhurst Military Competition. Train up for Ranger Challenge is rigorous and demanding. Tryouts for the Ranger Challenge team includes a timed five mile run and a six mile ruck. The added training through Ranger Challenge pushes cadets to higher standards, and sets them apart from others.

Cadets at firing range

German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency

Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC Cadets have the opportunity to participate for the German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency Badge (GAFPB). Different universities host the event in which a German Soldier presides as a German military representative. The GAFPB combines physical fitness, marksmanship, and basic military knowledge over eight different events. Depending on the points assessed for the completion of each event, Cadets can receive a Bronze, Silver, or Gold GAFPB medal. The medal is an eagle inside an oval wreath, and can be worn with the military dress uniform. This is not an easy accomplishment, and our cadets have been training in order to take home Gold medals!

World map

Cultural Understanding and Leadership Program

Every summer, the Army sends cadets around the world through the Cultural Understanding and Leadership Program (CULP). Cadets from universities across the country spend time in over 20 foreign countries, immersing themselves in the culture, training with foreign armed forces, and supporting local communities. As our worldviews broaden, cultural awareness is of utmost importance.

For young military leaders who often spend time working, training, and fighting with foreign allies, being cultural aware may make or break a mission. Each assignment has a mission that supports the Combatant Commander's strategic security objectives for that country. Many of these missions are performed in very austere conditions, which may include unusual living conditions, foods, and risks of common traveler's illnesses. However, during these missions, cadets receive an education and experience unmatched by anything they will do in college. Through CULP, cadets build confidence, communication skills, and relationships that will last a lifetime.

American flag patch on a seated cadet

Project Global Officer

Project Global Officer (Project GO) is an essential language program that all cadet may apply for, contracted or not. The program differs slightly based on school and language but overall, it is an extensive language program for cadets to learn languages the Army states are strategic. The program is usually six to eight weeks of learning covering a year's worth of material. First-year language studies are restricted to domestic programs but second and above are open to hybrid and abroad studies. There are benefits of the program in the form of CLIP-B, OML points, future bonuses, higher chance of CULP missions, and of course learning another language. The program is an excellent way to learn a language virtually free, travel, and to interact with cadets from across the country.

A satellite dish in front of a blue sky


Army ROTC offers a wide variety of internships for Army ROTC Cadets. Cadets can work with the US  Army Corps of Engineers, the office of the Army Surgeon General, Army Test and Evaluation Command, the Army Research Labs, the NSA, and even NASA. These internships provide cadets with invaluable experience working with civilians and uniformed personnel. Cadets can enhance their skills through on-the-job experience and learn from people with over 20 years of experience in their fields. Cadets can network and create lasting relationships within the organizations that can help them make decisions about their career later on in life. Cadet internships range from three to eight weeks long. Visit the Cadet Command Internships page for an overview of some, but not all, Cadet internships the Army provides.

Frequently Asked Questions