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The Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (jrotc): Its Role and History

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The Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (jrotc): Its Role and History essay
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Discipline and Training Leads to Bright Futures

Booker T. Washington once said, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” The Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, also known as JROTC, provides young adults a federal program that inspires leadership, citizenship, and character while encouraging participation, service, and engagement in their local community and school. Ever since 1916, JROTC has been motivating young people to be better citizens and build a strong study of ethics, communication, and life skills.

The Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps was created in addition to the passage of the National Defense Act of 1916. The Act allowed high schools to borrow equipment from the military and high school students would receive instruction from active duty military personnel. Later in 1964, the Vitalization Act allowed high school students to participate in other types of services and most of the active duty military personnel were replaced with experienced retirees who previously worked for the military. Through time, the JROTC high school programs have gone a long way and have changed quite a bit. Originally, the JROTC was a program to recruit members into the military, but throughout the years, it has changed into a program that instills citizenship and encourages physical and educational uplift. JROTC is a helpful program for students who are emotionally or physically turbulent. It instills a sense of discipline and balance. The study of ethics, citizenship, communication, and leadership that students learn and prepare will successfully take them into the adult world. From a small number of only six units in 1916, JROTC has grown and blossomed into a program that is active in 3,229 schools today.

JROTC benefits the community, not only by engaging students to participate in their community, but JROTC also distributes scholarships to students. JROTC provides scholarships to high school senior JROTC cadets. They offer a one year scholarship to any undergraduate college or an accredited technical/trade school. Only one of these scholarships are given out each year. However, in order to receive this prestigious award, the student must be a grandchild or child of a United States veteran. Many of the previous scholarship winners are now ranked in some of the highest positions in the United States military branches.

Goals of the JROTC include ethical values and proper citizenship. Effective communication and logical thinking can grow into the skills to work as a team member and produce positive self-motivation and management. Each cadet should have the motivation to graduate from high school and seek a career that will help them with their future endeavors. In addition to improved physical fitness, every cadet should choose to live drug-free.

JROTC is a program that has opportunities for everyone. Any student at any academic level can join this program, and any student of any nationality can join. Joining JROTC will train your student in discipline which is beneficial to all high school students. In fact, schools with JROTC programs tend to have higher SAT score and lower high school dropout rates.

As part of JROTC curriculum, over 100 hours of community services is shown throughout their four years of high school. Services can range from marching in parades, to collecting food for the homeless, or cleaning up local streets. Some local city governments recognize the work that JROTC participants do, and grant their own local awards and scholarships to deserving high school students. The majority of local city governments encourage students to engage and participate in JROTC activities. Unlike what many people think, JROTC is not a program to recruit people for the military, JROTC is a program where students help other students in becoming the best citizens they can be.

Many colleges and employers opt for JROTC members, as well. Colleges and universities look for admirable qualities that most JROTC members have already instilled. JROTC training improves focus and determination, and also elevates a student’s capability to study smarter, set goals, and to develop effective study habits. Employers can expect integrity, flexibility, and loyalty from past JROTC students. In total, this creates a well-rounded, leader, scholar, and athlete that colleges and employers want.

The JROTC program is also used in other military branches such as the marine corps, air force, and navy. Each branch teaches citizenship skills, but vary in different crafts. For example, the air force JROTC, also known as AFJROTC, teaches curriculum such as aviation history, geography, history, and survival. The marine corps JROTC unit showcases their drill team. They actively engage in public events by displaying and presenting the American flag at a baseball or basketball game. The skill of marksmanship is also included in the marine corps JROTC curriculum.

Each branch teaches 4 general subjects: the importance of physical fitness, military history, precision drills, and leadership skills. Physical fitness is essential to learn strengthening and endurance physically and emotionally by performing curl-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and one mile walks or runs. Every JROTC cadet must understand military history and important military figures and organizations that helped shape our world. JROTC instructors teach students important documents that changed America and the way its society works. Based on the branch, others might study additional information. For example, the marine corps JROTC might learn about sea patrolling and subjects about the history of waterway battles. Precision drilling requires focus and attention for detail. Students learn how to discipline themselves and pay attention. Leadership skills are required for any cadet. JROTC instructors teach students how to resolve problems, make wise decisions, communicate interpersonally, and to lead a group.

Each JROTC unit gives out ribbons to participating cadets. There are a wide variety of ribbons ranging from the academic excellence ribbon to Cadet of the quarter/year ribbon. The highest ribbons that can be received is the medal for heroism and superior cadet. The medal for heroism is awarded to a JROTC cadet who shows an act of heroism. The superior cadet is awarded annually by the Department of the Army to an exceptional cadet in each rank. For each unit there are three awards, the highest being the academic achievement insignia, an award given out to the top ten percent of each JROTC class based on grades. Marksmanship badges can also be earned. ExpertShoot, the highest, require a marksman to shoot a score of 200 out of 300.

Each year, a leadership challenge camp is held at various locations around the United States. This camp instills leadership, teamwork, confidence, trust, sharing, and responsibility. JROTC campers learn how to work as a team together to reach a common goal. At JROTC camp, every activity is designated for self-confidence and trust between you and other JROTC campers. Every camper is assigned a job to ensure responsibilities. Each cadet will receive training in CPR and first aid certification as well as lifeguard certification for qualified cadets.

The JROTC program has grown massively since it’s start in 1916, both in number and in branch. As of June 2006, there are in total of 3,229 units in the United States and approximately 64,580 cadets. 1,555 Army AJROTC units, 794 Air Force AFJROTC units, 619 Navy NJROTC units, 260 Marine Corps MCJROTC, and one Coast Guard CGJROTC unit. Statistics show that thirty percent to fifty percent of students enlist in the US military.

In conclusion, JROTC benefits students all across America and helps communities surrounding each unit. JROTC offers students scholarships and awards they can use towards college. Skills and lessons learned in JROTC create a good citizen with

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