The Importance of Being a RAT

By Cadet SFC Jose Robles

To be a RAT means to be a Recruit-At-Training. It means to be a follower, but most importantly, it means that you are becoming part of the NMMI family. The RAT traditions have been a part of the institute since it was founded, which is 127 years of traditions. Every new cadet is a RAT, no matter their age or grade. The first year you come to NMMI, you will be a RAT your entire first semester. During this period, you cannot gain any Rank or position in the corps of cadets. Your job is to be a follower. It is important to be a follower during this time because you gain knowledge and experience. Once the first semester is done, you will turn to the Rank of private. This is the time when you can apply for leadership positions and Rank in the Corps of Cadets.

Being a RAT comes with many responsibilities. You will have to do certain RAT duties like Rat walking, RAT running, popping to, and wearing certain distinctions on your uniform that identify you as a Recruit-at-Training. Many incoming cadets do not make it through this period. It really is hard. Everyone will be after you and making sure you do the right thing at all times, even if nobody is looking. But many do make it, and believe me, it is a great satisfaction when you see you did make it and you conquered all of the challenges that NMMI exposes you to.

Your RAT year will be the best year you will experience here at the institute because even though it is tough, your RAT buddy connections are incredible. Your RAT buddies are incoming cadets who are experiencing the same challenges you are, and that creates friendships that will last a lifetime. The connection you and your RAT buddies create is an amazing bond that will motivate you and make you get through the challenge of being a RAT.

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