Junior ROTC motivates youth to be better citizens 



"Our mission in the Junior ROTC program is to motivate young people to be better citizens, to be leaders and to be better members of their community," the commanding general of U.S. Army Cadet command said.

Maj. Gen. Arthur M. Bartell added, "I’m blown away by all the good that Junior ROTC does for our nation. The incredible popularity of the program speaks for itself."

There are now 1,645 Junior ROTC units at high schools across the country and on campuses in Germany, Japan, Korea, Guam, Puerto Rico and American Samoa. Over 280,000 high school students are enrolled in the program, and 4,000 retired officers and noncommissioned officers serve as instructors.

Not withstanding the size and scope of the program, there currently are about 250 schools on the waiting list to establish Junior ROTC programs on their campus.

"We now have the resources," Bartell said, "to establish 86 new units in the next two years. We will add 43 new units in school year 2010-2011 and 43 more in school year 2011-2012. So, that will bring our total number of programs to 1,731 by the end of 2012."

Working toward the goal of becoming better citizens, students are encouraged by their instructors to develop leadership skills, communicate effectively, improve their physical fitness, work as a team with fellow students and friends, and strengthen positive self-motivation.

They also are provided realistic incentives to live in a drug-free environment and are inspired to graduate from high school so that they may become productive citizens as they approach adulthood.

"Junior ROTC is not a recruiting tool for the Army. We provide a historical perspective of military service in our curriculum. Junior ROTC is very popular and extremely relevant to young men and women of high school age," said Bartell.

The facts speak for themselves.

A recent analysis conducted by Cadet Command showed that Junior ROTC cadets have a significantly lower rate of absence from school, a far better graduation rate and substantially fewer disciplinary problems when compared with students at the same schools who do not participate in the program.

Bartell credits the success of Junior ROTC to the retired officers and noncommissioned officers serving as instructors in the classroom – they are the backbone of the program.

Courses offered include: citizenship in action, leadership theory and application, wellness and fitness, first aid, geography, environmental awareness, citizenship, American history and government.

As an optional part of the Junior ROTC curriculum, cadets may also participate in marksmanship instruction using air rifles.

Instilling a sense of individual accomplishment while, most importantly, working together as a team, is a cornerstone of the program.

Junior ROTC cadets are involved in local and national challenges such as academic contests and air rifle and precision drill team competitions.

"We are very excited," Bartell said, "about growing this program. Junior ROTC is very important for the high schools, the community and the nation.

"Our country needs Junior ROTC."

(Editor’s note: Those seeking additional information about becoming a Junior ROTC instructors, may contact Cadet Command at https://www.usarmyjrotc.com/ or by calling (757) 788-4309.)