Sgt. J M Schryll Kadava first heard about the Green to Gold Active Duty Option Program from her noncommissioned officer. She said she went to a briefing and embraced the program as a means to advance her education and her career.
Kadava, who immigrated to America from the Philippines in 2014, will graduate from Campbell University with a bachelor’s degree in information systems in 2019 and will then be commissioned as an officer.
Specialists Pavel Chibole and Danilo Cruz both attended basic and advanced individual training together after joining the Army in 2014. Their parallel lives seem to continue as both have been selected to participate in the Green to Gold Program as well.
The program, according to its website, provides eligible, active-duty enlisted Soldiers an opportunity to complete a bachelor’s or a two-year graduate degree and earn a commission as an Army Officer.
The two are slated to each earn a master’s degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio — Chibole’s will earn his degree in cyber security and forensics and Cruz will earn his in business administration.
Kadava, Chibole and Cruz are all assigned to the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command and have been selected for the Green to Gold program, according to Sgt. 1st Class Donna Davis, Public Affairs Officer operations noncommissioned officer, 3rd ESC. But, other Soldiers have been selected for commission through Officer Candidate School and through the U.S. Academy at West Point.
Additionally, Chibole, who came to America by way of Kenya and Russia in 2011 and Cruz, who immigrated from Brazil in 2005, are part of the Army’s Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest recruiting program, which affords expedited U.S. citizenship to legal non-residents who possess in-demand skills such as cyber security, language, medical proficiencies, etc.
The Green to Gold program is ideal because it allows a Soldier to progress inside the Army, take on more responsibility and impact the day-to-day lives of Soldiers, Cruz said.
“It’s a great opportunity to become a manager of people and processes,” he explained.
The program allows service members to save time toward advancement, said Chibole. Typically, a Soldier would have to serve, separate from duty and then pursue higher education, but Green to Gold permits the Soldier to advance education while still on active-duty.
“All you have to worry about is your degree. You’re taking classes and then you are commissioned — it’s a win-win,” he said. “This is a really good opportunity. It’s basically saving time.”
Kadava agreed.
“It gives you the opportunity to focus on finishing your goal, your degree. It’s worth a shot,” she said.
All officers really want to do is take care of Soldiers and the Green to Gold program reiterates the Army values of developing character and of integrity that allows a service member to do just that, explained Cruz.
So, why not join the Green to Gold program?
“The Army takes care of its people. That’s a major thing, too, as long as you are in the Army, you are going to be taken care of,” Chibole said.
Some of the program’s benefits include allowing Soldiers to continue to receive current pay and allowances while in the program for up to a maximum of 24 consecutive months, GI Bill/Army College Fund (Montgomery GI Bill/Army College Fund) benefits to those who are qualified, normal permanent change of station entitlements and leadership training.
Its requirements include, but are not limited to: U.S. Citizen (non-waiverable), be under the age of 30 on the date of projected graduation or commission (waivers can be requested), cannot have been convicted of a domestic violence crime, have a minimum of two years active-duty at the time of application, as well as three months of active-duty for every one month of specialized training (waiver can be requested), have a general technical score of 110 or greater, be eligible to reenlist and not be a conscientious objector.