An insight into JROTC’s future soldiers

An insight into JROTCs future soldiers

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps or ROTC is a program offered across the United States that prepares young adults to become officers in the U.S. Military.

Junior ROTC, or JROTC, is a class in LTHS with a similar purpose.

“I teach Navy Junior ROTC, so Junior means high schoolers. It is not a military service obligation,” JROTC teacher Major Billings said. “While the curriculum is still navy and service and is very much tailored towards highschool students and knowing that the mission isn’t to train future military officers or sailors like ROTC, it is to make good citizens.” 

Although the class is military-oriented, not everyone who takes it wishes to serve in the military.

“Only 8% of students who are in JROTC ever serve in the military. Some [students] aren’t even eligible,” Billings said. “This is a way for them to have a little pride and belonging and confidence in themselves and get a little taste of what military life would be.”

While some may think that this class is overwhelming, freshman Karina Roberts, a student in JROTC, disagrees.

“Everything I’ve put time into I’ve enjoyed. Like I’ve enjoyed staying after school and doing stuff for the drill team,” Roberts said. “If at any point, the team is overwhelming for that cadet, they can leave the team. So I wouldn’t really say that it’s overwhelming.”

However, JROTC students need to wear uniforms which can be challenging, according to Roberts.

“You need to have enough discipline to wear your uniform,” she said. “The uniform is sometimes challenging, there are a lot of aspects that you have to get right and sometimes we have inspections which can be stressful sometimes but if you prepare enough, you’ll be okay.”

Despite the challenges, Roberts said there are multiple benefits such as meeting students from other schools. 

“We didn’t know anybody but very soon everybody finds their people and it’s really good for that,” Roberts said. “There’s also a lot of opportunities and Major Billings offers a lot of help. We have a lot of fun.”

As Roberts gave us insight on the weekly life of a JROTC member, she said that there are a lot of different activities the members engage in that provides them with information over various aspects of the military life. 

“On Mondays and Tuesdays, we wear a uniform. In class we usually go over presentations. They can be about a lot of different things like customs and courtesies, ROTC, naval aviation and ships,” she said, “On Wednesday we would be doing drill and so we learn how to march and how to call commands and how to do different military drill movements or sometimes we do guided discussions or quizzes. Thursday or Friday there’s always PT (Physical Training). If you are part of a team (Drill team, Color guard team, Academic team, PT team) those teams will meet before or after school.”

Roberts said that she suggests anybody who’s thinking about joining the class to do so because commitment to the military isn’t required.

“Half of our cadets don’t even want to join the military at all. They’re just in it for the fun and experience and I think that’s totally fine,” Roberts said. “If anybody is just a little curious about it I would encourage them to try it. Anybody can enjoy it if they want to try it.”