The first year is always a great time at Virginia Tech. Incoming NROTC students are also enrolled in the VT Corps of Cadets, a 24/7 leadership laboratory where cadets are taught basic military customs and courtesies. The VTCC is one of the most unique student experiences here at Virginia Tech and creates a network of alumni and mentors, a strong set of moral and ethical values, and a lifelong group of friends. In the Navy ROTC unit, the fourth-class Midshipmen must first learn to lead by following. They will take classes in basic military knowledge and history as well as take part in a weekly ProLab. Professional Lab and Mission-Oriented Training (ProLab) is an integral and required adjunct to NROTC at Virginia Tech. ProLabs introduce Midshipmen to a wide range of contemporary and general military subjects in order to increase their professional knowledge, appreciation of military tradition, bearing, and discipline.
Midshipmen have now had the time to decide whether or not Naval ROTC is right for them. As third-class Midshipmen, they now have the opportunity to be squad leaders in their Navy companies. This is most likely going to be their first leadership position, even before they become fire-team leaders in the Corps of Cadets. As squad leaders, third-class Midshipmen are responsible for the organization, training, and accountability of their assigned squad members.
As juniors in the Navy Battalion, second-class Midshipmen have the opportunity to serve in Battalion and Company staff positions. The second-class Midshipmen are the most involved in the day-to-day operation of the Battalion and are responsible for planning and carrying out events. It is also during this year that Marine Option Midshipmen begin to prepare for the rigors of Officer Candidate School, which is held in Quantico, VA.
Senior year is an exciting time for Midshipmen at Virginia Tech. First-class Midshipmen often hold leadership billets and determine the success of the ROTC unit. Furthermore, first-class Midshipmen select which community they would like to join in the Navy. Service assignments are sent out during the fall semester of their senior year.
New Ensigns and Second Lieutenants from the Naval ROTC Battalion at Virginia Tech are often surprised at how quickly the time has passed. It seemed like yesterday that they were being issued their uniforms for the first time and meeting new people at orientation. Commissioning is a new beginning. It is a time when new officers can take what they have learned and apply it to life in the fleet. New Ensigns and Second Lieutenants head off to their next duty station, bringing with them their indomitable Hokie spirit and the honor, courage, and commitment that they learned from the Naval ROTC Battalion of Virginia Tech.