Army JROTC: What it is and How it Works

It is a program that has been in place for many years. The United States Army, and other military branches have gained magnificent leaders from this program. JROTC stands for Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. In today’s post, we are going to examine the Army JROTC and explain what it is and how it works.

JROTC History

In 1916, the National Defense Act was passed and part of that Act was the creation of the Army Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. The Act created a system in which the Federal Government would loan high schools military equipment, and also assign active duty personnel as educators.

The system worked well, and many leaders were bred into the Army lifestyle while they were still in school. In 1964, the ROTC Vitalization Act created some changes in the JROTC system. First, JROTC was now open to the other branches of the armed forces, and secondly, instead of utilizing active duty personnel, the instructors would now be retired members of the armed forces. The pay of these instructors would be split between the Federal Government and the school they taught in.

Up until approximately 2013, JROTC was used primarily as a source of recruitment. Because of controversy and opposition of the program by groups such as:

  • The War Resisters League

  • The American Friends Service Committee

  • Veterans For Peace

  • and the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors

the military reiterated and strengthened the code that pertained to the JROTC program that it was not to be used as a recruitment tool.

What It Is

The purpose of the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps is the process of instilling the values of citizenship, personal responsibility, service to the United States and her citizens and a sense of accomplishment in students within U.S. secondary educational institutions. The core of JROTC involves teaching:

  • life skills

  • morals and ethics

  • leadership skills

  • citizenship

  • communications

  • and much more.

The educators who work in these schools in the JROTC program are normally retired Army officers. They do not necessarily have to have teaching credentials in many States, but some States do require it.

JROTC maintains a system of training these students in ways so they can serve the country as leaders, citizens and as military personnel if they decide to enter the armed forces.

JROTC is not meant to be used as a recruiting tool, but the system does inform all the students about their military opportunities. The instructors do emphasize service in the United States Army and will assist cadets who show a desire to join the Army.

While there are those who disagree with the JROTC program, I want to say that in this world full of crime, drugs and other things that mislead these kids, the JROTC program has brought these kids into a pattern that is safer for them and creates leadership for the country’s future. JROTC is not a bad thing.

How JROTC Works

There are over 1,500 Army JROTC units across the United States. These units use a similar Chain of Command structure as the U.S. Army with companies, battalions and brigades.

In the U.S., JROTC is meant to be an elective course and is normally taken in place of physical education. The program uses a strict military discipline structure. Cadets wear their uniforms up to twice per week. The curriculum focuses on military science and history, but also delves into leadership and other areas. The cadets also have military style extracurricular activities such as:

  • color guard

  • rifle marksmanship

  • drill

  • and more.

Cadets are also involved with multiple community service projects.

Just as in the regular Army, cadets can be awarded many different ribbons and medals. They learn the proper wear of these awards.

Graduating from JROTC does not automatically earn a cadet an officer position in the Army, but it can mean a direct nomination to the service academy. Also, cadets who successfully complete JROTC can expect to have an advanced rank when they do enlist.

If you are searching for schools with a JROTC program, I highly recommend this link. If you are a retired officer, and have considered helping in this program, you can also find information on that process at that same link.

JROTC Cadets Who Served

The statistics show that 30-50% of JROTC cadets end up joining the military. Is that a bad thing? I believe it is much better than having them in prison, on drugs or alcohol, or living an unfruitful life.

Just consider these past JROTC cadets:

  • Brigadier General Thomas White who was Secretary of the Army from 2001 to 2003

  • Specialist Shoshana Johnson was the first female African American prisoner of war ever.

  • Major Alan Rogers who was killed in Iraq.

  • 2nd Lieutenant Emily Perez who was also killed in Iraq.

Final Thoughts

JROTC is a great program, and hopefully it maintains its status in many schools across the country. We would love to hear from current or former cadets. Tell us more, we are listening.

If you have any comments or questions, just post them below. Now here is the JROTC Cadet Creed:

I am an Army Junior ROTC Cadet.

I will always conduct myself to bring credit to my family, country, school and the Corps of Cadets.

I am loyal and patriotic.

I am the future of the United States of America.

I do not lie, cheat or steal and will always be accountable for my actions and deeds.

I will always practice good citizenship and patriotism.

I will work hard to improve my mind and strengthen my body.

I will seek the mantle of leadership and stand prepared to uphold the Constitution and the American way of life.

May God grant me the strength to always live by this creed.

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