When you come to ISU to begin your freshman year of college, all midshipmen, whether they have a scholarship or are enrolled in the College Program, are expected to attend an NROTC Orientation.
NROTC Orientation is designed to transition incoming freshman from civilian life to military life. During the orientation, the new midshipmen will be exposed to the basics of close order drill, physical training, teamwork, and the expectations for participation in the unit for the next four years. Students will receive instruction on time management, academic success, study habits, nutrition, and military history. However, the week will not be spent entirely in a classroom.
Orientation is NOT boot camp. Participants can expect to move at a fast pace, and there will be little time for relaxation during the day. Students will be expected to arrive in shape, as PT will begin Monday afternoon. Physical fitness is continually reinforced since it is an important quality for Navy and Marine Corps officers to possess. It is therefore imperative that students arrive in the best possible physical condition. Other special events are spaced throughout the week. These include overnight trips to Camp Dodge to experience the Leadership Reaction Course, obstacle course, and swim qualifications.
This orientation will include an introduction to the skills of Close Order Drill, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and their traditions, and physical training. New Midshipmen will also be issued their first set of uniforms. The goal of this process is to familiarize incoming midshipman with life as a midshipman, allow each new student to meet the other midshipmen in the battalion, bond with their fellow freshmen midshipmen classmates, and give them an idea of what they should expect and what will be expected of them for the next four years at Iowa State University NROTC.
Orientation concludes with a swearing-in ceremony and a family picnic. Families are invited to attend. This allows the new midshipman to bond with their classmates. This bond will be continually developed and reinforced.
In addition to classes required for their particular degree program, each Midshipman will take a Naval Science class and attend lab periods on Tuesday and Thursday for two hours each semester. Every Tuesday, midshipmen wear their uniforms all day while on campus to enhance public relations and unit pride.
At Iowa State NROTC, academics are our number one priority. Midshipmen are instructed on the use of all on-campus academic resources including tutors; supplemental, instructive, and recitation, as well as the Academic Success Center. In most cases, the unit helps offset the cost of tutoring especially in the areas of Calculus, Physics, and Chemistry. Assistance is also available from battalion midshipmen for other classes. While academics are our top objective, it is recognized that extracurricular activity contributes to a well-rounded individual, and therefore Midshipmen are encouraged to be involved in campus activities and even various unit activities which might include Color Guard, Drill Team, and community service.
Through midshipmen run clubs such as John Paul Jones Society, Semper Fi Society, and The Glorious Order of the Sextant, the battalion gets an additional source of income that helps support the unit’s extracurricular activities. It also provides funds to offset the cost of the Navy and Marine Corps Birthday Ball, Senior’s Dinner, Dining Out, gifts from the battalion, and picnics or pizza parties the battalion may host.
Organized physical training, or PT, assists the midshipmen in preparation for the Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) and the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) administered each semester for Navy and Marine options respectively. Physical workouts are also designed to get Midshipmen in the routine of the military lifestyle and develop good habits.
All of these factors – academics, extracurricular activities, and physical fitness – are what comprise life as a midshipman at ISU NROTC. Four years later, these experiences and opportunities prepare the midshipman to succeed as a Commissioned Officer who exemplifies Honor, Courage, and Commitment in the United States Navy or Marine Corps.