A Project for Better Journalism chapter

JROTC: Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps or Just Rated On The Cowplop list?

Have you ever seen teenagers with rifles wearing fancy uniforms wondering why on Earth are they at your school? Or have you ever thought that the people in JROTC are going to be shipped to Iraq once they graduate? That… may be true, but not entirely.

 JROTC is a program that was created in 1916 by the National Defense Act which was signed by then-president Woodrow Wilson to assist  in military formation by installing this idea in schools to gain more male soldiers. Although this was the first idea, times have changed. 

After 48 years, acts such as the Revitalization Act or allowing female cadets to join the program in 1973 expended the horizons for cadets within this program, giving them a variety of choices. You’re probably wondering why this program is still running or why it’s still relevant to the world today. Students involved, however, support the benefits of this program.. 

“I feel as though the JROTC program is important because I believe that it keeps true to its mission which is to motivate young people to become better citizens,” said senior Liakhanna Jackson, Battalion Commander of the Army JROTC. “Throughout my years in this program and out, I have noticed a change in myself and others.”

This program dedicates itself and the people within it to help others become the best they can be regardless of the obstacles they go through.

Let’s get one thing clear: JROTC IS NOTHING LIKE REGULAR CLASSROOMS!!! There’s a reason why people who were in JROTC convince others to join.

“My siblings were in the program so they convinced me to join. I instantly fell in love with it,” said Jackson. “So when the time came around, I continued to put it on my school choice course sheet. What really keep me in was the organization, how fun it was, discipline, and how the cadets get to run the program. It was something I had never experienced inside of a classroom.”

Within this program, cadets tend to grab others’ attention to the point that it helps enhance their skill and grants opportunity to help later on life. The Color Guard, Drill Team, Raiders team, are all parts of the program that attract outsiders.

“They all build character and teamwork. I’ve been apart of each one and I’d say you can find one that fits each person,” said Jackson. “It helps us to properly manage things that we will need in daily life. For a range of proper performances etiquette to how to properly address a problem all the way up to table manners. These lessons can be taken anywhere to help any of our cadets succeed in the real world no matter what career field they go in.

Some people who are not in this program tend to view JROTC as some serious project. Others think it’s just silly to wear the uniform every once in a while and be “prepared to be shipped away.” But that is not the reality of a JROTC student. 

“The first thing we are told once we join the program is that NO ONE IS FORCED INTO THE MILITARY,” said Jackson. “Another thing that I get is that a lot of people just think we’re all about marching and military vocabulary but that’s not exactly what we do. We have endless of fun and do things outside instead of being cooped up all day.”

 To expand on this fun, Jackson helped to create the idea of “JROTC Olympics,” that would focus primarily on team-building activities that cadets could find beneficial both in the JROTC program and in “real life.”

While some may think, “Oh my god, I’m going to be yelled at for the rest of my life” or “I’m going to have to fight those crazy North Koreans” if I join JROTC, just… no.

Cadets learn virtual values and gain entertainment from activities that provides teamwork. This program does indeed make you become prepared for whatever comes at you.