Penn State Army ROTC student's hard work leads to high ranking

October 26, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Most Army ROTC seniors don’t know what and where their first official assignment for the U.S. Army will be until close to their college graduation. Penn State senior Michael Miller of Macungie, Pa., does. The secondary math education major was ranked seventh among 5,643 Army cadets on the nationwide Order of Merit List. Cadets ranked in the top 10 of their national graduating class get to choose their future. Miller chose to work as a signal officer, and will most likely be stationed just outside of Augusta, Ga., at Fort Gordon.

According to Mike Johnson, spokesperson for the U.S. Army Cadet Command, graduating Army ROTC candidates are ranked annually from one to however many are in the senior class nationally, on the basis of academic performance, performance at the Leadership Development Assessment Course -- taken by all Army ROTC cadets during the summer between their junior and senior year -- performance in the ROTC course, training and leadership activities and performance on the periodic Army Physical Fitness test. Only the top 10 ranking Army ROTC students are guaranteed the position they requested. According to Johnson, cadets become signal officers, infantry officers or military intelligence officers.

“This was a huge surprise,” Miller’s Master Sgt. Guy Dukes said about Miller’s ranking. “Cadet Miller is a solid student, a good cadet, probably our top cadet, but still, you’re talking about the many universities across the country that have ROTC programs. There are the MITs, the Princetons and the Harvards that you would expect to have higher-ranking students. Mike Miller did Penn State very proud.”

Miller himself had no idea how well he’d rank. Based on the calculations used to rank cadets, Miller knew he did well but was shocked to learn he ranked in the top 10. His parents were delighted.

“My parents knew the ranking was supposed to be out soon and kept asking me how I’d done,” Miller said. “It was released a little later than expected so when I finally could tell them how I did, they were ecstatic, they were glad to know I’d get the job I wanted.”

Miller, who comes from a military family -- his dad, uncles and younger brother went to West Point -- said his decision to join the Army ROTC program at Penn State wasn’t just because of his family, but because he appreciates all the freedoms he has in the United States. He wants to continue to protect those freedoms. Working as a signal officer, Miller will help control the Army’s communications -- Internet, radio, telecommunications -- making sure the lines are smooth and fluent, an imperative key in any successful Army mission. Miller’s education at Penn State will come into play in his assignment as well; math is an important component for the field.

On Dec. 16, when Miller is commissioned, he will become 2nd Lt. Miller and will be pinned with a gold bar, signifying that he is officially a military officer. His parents and brother will be in attendance. He will graduate from Penn State’s College of Education the next day.

  • Michael Miller

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated October 27, 2011