Simultaneous Membership Program offers unique opportunity to future AZ Guard Leaders

Simultaneous Membership Program offers unique opportunity to future AZ Guard Leaders

Maj. Gordon Smith of the Arizona Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion briefs Cadets from the Arizona State University Reserve Officers’ Training Corps about the benefits of the Simultaneous Membership Program Feb. 26. The SMP Program allows ROTC Cadets to serve in the Army National Guard while completing their education and earning their commission. (Photo by Spc. Wes Parrell)

 PHOENIX -- The Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) offer a Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP) to qualified, full time college students who are current members of the Army National Guard or willing to join.   

SMP is a two-year program where cadets serve in the Army National Guard and attend ROTC classes simultaneously. Balancing college and military commitments can be a daunting task but members of the Simultaneous Memberships Program are reaping the benefits in the Arizona Army National Guard. 

Wednesday Nelson is Junior at ASU and is majoring in Criminal Justice and Arabic Language. She joined the Arizona State University ROTC program last fall after learning about the Simultaneous Membership Program.  

“I have always had the desire to serve in the military,” said Nelson. “I thought I would wait until after I graduated college before I would join but then I found out about the SMP program.”  

Because cadets participate in both Guard training and ROTC at the same time, the benefits of the SMP are twofold. First, SMP cadets receive management and leadership training that ROTC offers. Then, during the monthly training weekends, SMP cadets apply their classroom knowledge in a real world military unit in the Army National Guard. 

“Being able to go to school and train with my unit is a unique experience that traditional ROTC Cadets do not have,” said Cadet Mathew Torres, member of the ASU ROTC program. “I have had the opportunity to drill with my unit while in school and after graduation this May I will commission as a 2nd Lt. and continue to serve in the Arizona Army National Guard. Many graduating students don’t know what they will do after graduation and I have already begun a professional career even before receiving my diploma.”  

"It is difficult and challenging to serve as an officer in the post 9-11 environment and balancing a civilian career with the demands of military service,” said Maj. Gordon Smith, Officer Recruiter for the Arizona Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion. “The SMP has enabled us to significantly enhance the caliber of Lieutenants coming into the AZARNG because these future officers learn upfront how to manage that balance while they are still in college.  I strongly recommend qualified National Guard Soldiers to compete for a SMP training position if they are in college and want to lead."                                                                                                                                            

SMP begins in the fall semester of a full time student’s sophomore or junior year in college or the first year of graduate school. SMP Cadets commission as a 2nd lieutenants in the Army National Guard after completion of a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree and the ROTC advanced course. 

For more information about the Simultaneous Membership Program and the Arizona Army National Guard contact Staff Sgt. Samuel Sario at (602)421-7662 or by email at [email protected] 

If you are a currently serving guard member and are interested in more information about using your benefits to obtain a higher education visit our article published in January titled “AZ Guard provides opportunity for higher education”.