PLU ROTC program sees four UWT students graduate

In the University of Washington Tacoma’s class of 2020, there will be four students graduating from the ROTC program and becoming 2nd Lieutenants. While it may not seem like ROTC is offered on the UW Tacoma campus, it is offered to UWT students through Pacific Lutheran University. Students who participate in the Army ROTC will be commissioned as Second Lieutenants when they graduate. 

“Being in the program for four years now, I can confidently say ROTC has changed my life and my outlook on how I approach things,” said Cadet Justin Matias, a communications senior at UW Tacoma, “I hold myself to higher standards.” 

His sister, who went directly into the Army after High School and has been serving ever since inspired Matias to enroll in ROTC. After college, Matias will graduate as a 2nd Lieutenant in the National Guard and translate what he has learned in ROTC into his career in the Army. 

There are many options for students to enroll in the ROTC program but the most common is The Progression Model — where an incoming freshman does all four years of ROTC while simultaneously obtaining their four-year bachelor’s degree. Incoming freshmen can cross-enroll into Military Science 101 offered at PLU and pay a $50 cross-enrollment fee. This class will be counted as an elective and the student will receive two semester credit hours. 

In the first year as a cadet there are no obligations and are considered “non-contracted.” This means that cadets do not receive incentives or benefits during their first year. Once a cadet reaches their second year and onward, they start receiving benefits — such as scholarships or a monthly stipend upon contracting. 

There is a three year model for sophomores who did not take Military Science 101 their freshman year. They will take both the 100 and 200 level Military Science classes to get caught up. There is also a model for active-duty soldiers. 

UWT students will need to commute to the PLU campus for these classes, physical training and labs. Additional work will be done on Joint Base Lewis-McChord for things such as rappelling, land navigation and weapons qualifications and tactics. 

“ROTC shaped who I am today which is why I am thankful for what it has taught me about myself over these four years,” said Matias.