☷SMP cadets hone skills while maximizing benefits
National Guard ( By Press Release office)
| 54| 1
FORT PICKETT , Va . – Approximately 70 cadets in the Virginia Army National Guard’s Simultaneous Membership Program honed their military skills at a field training exercise April 22 - 24 . The cadets , enrolled in both ROTC and the Virginia Army National Guard , came from colleges and universities across the state for the training . Recruiters and staff assigned to the Virginia Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion ran the event . “The Simultaneous Membership Program is a unique opportunity where Soldiers who enlist with us who are also enrolled in ROTC get to train one weekend a month as a drilling National Guard member , ” said Sgt . 1st Class Steven Knichel , the on - campus recruiter for Liberty University in Lynchburg . “They get the full experience while attending college full - time . ” SMP cadets earn a monthly paycheck for drilling once a month , are eligible for benefits through the National Guard and gain experience operating in a military environment before attending ROTC Advanced Camp the summer after their junior year of college . “It’s the best way to do ROTC , in my opinion , ” said Cadet Fabio Corbera , a junior at Christopher Newport University . He enlisted into the Virginia National Guard right after high school and completed basic and advanced training before being assigned to the Virginia Beach - based 1173rd Transportation Company , 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion , 329th Regional Support Group . After returning from training , he enrolled at CNU and asked his unit for information on how to use his benefits . “I had great leadership that pointed me in the right direction . ” Now , three years into his college experience , Corbera is debt - free . He uses state and federal tuition assistance to pay for school , and in addition to his drill pay , he receives a monthly stipend from the Montgomery G . I . Bill and ROTC . “I don’t pay anything out of pocket for school , ” Corbera said . Additionally , Corbera and his fellow SMP cadets get a head start on their time in service , which started immediately upon their entry into the National Guard . “For me , this is the best thing ever because , by the time I commission , I’ll probably have 4 - 5 years ' time in service . It’s amazing . ” During the three - day exercise , the cadets familiarized themselves with the M4 carbine , practiced battle drills and honed their warrior skills with training lanes . “I’m getting more experience as to what I could possibly be doing at advanced camp , so this is basically putting me in a better position for when I go in two years , ” said Cadet Qu Nmashie , who had a built - in battle buddy for the weekend . He and his brother , Cadet Lawrence Nmashie , both first - year students at George Mason University , are enrolled in the SMP . They completed basic training together and were assigned to the same platoon . The Nmashies are recipients of the Minuteman Scholarship , which covers tuition , an annual book allowance and a monthly stipend . Those who receive the scholarship must participate in the SMP and serve in the National Guard upon their commissioning . “My dad’s in the National Guard , and the lifestyle he lives kind of pushed me in this direction , ” Lawrence said . “When I found out about the Minuteman , I thought this would be the path I want to take . ” The brothers said the exercise offered more hands - on training than they experienced during a typical drill weekend . “It’s been pretty cool , and it’s been really interesting to experience so much through ROTC and being [in the] SMP , ” said Lawrence . “It gives me a nice perspective . ” While the brothers had each other to support them through their training , Cadet Nicole Adams relied on a little help from above . Growing up , she thought military service sounded interesting , but she wasn’t sure she had the tenacity for such an endeavor . Then , she got an email from Staff Sgt . Micajah Lacy , the on - campus recruiter at James Madison University , where Adams is studying psychology . “It listed the perks of ROTC and being enlisted while you’re in ROTC , and it was like , yeah , that’s what I’m supposed to do , ” Adams said . “I’m very religious and I just felt like this is God’s path for me . ” She went home to tell her family about her decision and was in the National Guard within weeks . Then , she completed basic and advanced training as a 12B combat engineer . “That was awesome , ” she said of the training . She joined ROTC as a lateral entry , which means she started the program her junior year . Before joining the National Guard and the SMP , she was paying for college largely with loans . Now , she’s using federal tuition assistance and help from the Montgomery G . I . Bill and has already started paying back her debt , “all because of the Army . ”
PLAY the NEWS
* May be useful for visually impaired persons .
Press release information:
Direct link to press release
: Click here .