Green to Gold; Earn a degree while becoming an officer
Each year, the US Army awards deserving Soldiers the opportunity to transition from the enlisted ranks into the officer corps while earning a bachelor’s degree thorough the Green to Gold Program.
The program offers Soldiers four distinct options: the Active Duty option, the Scholarship option, the Division Commander’s Hip Pocket Scholarship option and the Non-Scholarship option.
Recent Green to Gold graduate, 2nd Lt. Audrey Mosley, a ground ambulance platoon leader with 568th Mobile Company Ground Ambulance detachment assigned to Camp Humphreys, South Korea, discussed her experience with the program.
“I joined the Army so that I could further my education,” Mosley said. “Eventually, I hit a roadblock where I couldn’t attend school with the competing requirements of work.”
Mosley, formerly a Patriot launcher station operator maintainer, had gained valuable leadership experience at Fort Bliss, Camp Carroll, Korea and at Fort Hood, but she decided to leave her career as an air defense staff sergeant to push forward with her goal of securing her degree.
After attending a brief at Fort Hood’s education center, Mosley realized she met the requirements to apply for the Green to Gold Active Duty option and began the application process. The Active Duty option allows Soldiers the opportunity to remain on Active Duty while finishing their remaining two years towards a bachelor’s degree while using tuition assistance or Montgomery GI Bill benefits to fund their education.
“The application process is very complex and requires a steadfast commitment from applicants in order to stay on top of the requirements,” Mosley said. “No one will walk you through the process, it really requires initiative from the applicants to ensure the packet is completed properly.”
Mosley offered additional advice for Soldiers who are considering the program.
“Start the process early, especially the physicals, many times space at medical facilities is limited so allow sufficient time to complete this portion of the packet,” Mosley said.
Emphasis from the chain of command is critical in ensuring Soldiers are informed about the Green to Gold program. The 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade Commander, Col. Mark Holler, is a staunch supporter of the program.
"The Green to Gold Program is an amazing opportunity for Soldiers to transition into the officer corps while securing a bachelor's degree from the college of their choice,” Holler said. “While the program is competitive, this should not deter our aspiring young leaders from applying.”
Holler has encouraged Soldiers to participate in the Green to Gold program throughout his career.
“As a battery and battalion commander, I’ve personally placed 12 Soldiers into the program and as a brigade commander, I will continue to select and fully endorse deserving Soldiers who embody the ‘Scholar, Athlete, Leader’ spirit of the Green to Gold Scholarship program"
Mosley discussed the Scholar, Athlete, Leader concept in more detail.
“To stand out as a scholar, Soldiers should focus on building a strong grade point average,” Mosley said. “This may mean retaking college courses but it’s worth it. In order to shine as an athlete, Soldiers needn’t be a physical training stud, intramural sports participation and taking part in post running events strengthen your packet as well.”
To be competitive as a leader, Mosley provided additional advice.
“You will need to stand out among your peers, if you have coordinated unit activities and extended your influence beyond your organization these are the characteristics that you will want to highlight,” Mosley said. “Volunteering is another great way to build your leadership profile.”
While the window to apply for most Green to Gold options has closed this year, Capt. Lauren Okada, 35th ADA Brigade personnel officer, advised it’s not too late to apply for the Division Commander’s Hip Pocket Scholarship this year.
“Soldiers have until April 1st to apply for the Division Commander’s two, three and four year Hip Pocket Scholarships,” Okada said. “Soldiers should review the requirements as soon as possible to ensure they meet the specified criteria.”
Soldiers interested in Green to Gold can get more information at their local education center or by visiting the Army’s Green to Gold website at http://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/current-and-prior-service/advance-your-career/green-to-gold.html.