The Junior Reserve Officer Training Course (JROTC) is a program sponsored by the Unites States Armed Forces in high schools across the country. It was first created through the 1916 National Defense Act.
All five branches of the United States Armed Forces sponsor JROTC programs. These are the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard. Well of course, technically speaking, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard are part of the Navy. Let’s delve on the military schools offering JROTC programs. If all the five branches are involved, it means that a military school may differ from another’s offering. For example, one school may be offering Army-like JROTC curricula; the other one is offering Air Force-like JROTC curricula.
As of June 2006, there are 1555 Army JROTC units, 794 Air Force units, 619 Navy units, 260 Marine Corps units and just one Coast Guard unit.
The MAST Academy in Florida may not look as exotic as the set of Miami Vice but it is home to the only existing Coast Guard JROTC unit in the country.
MAST stands for Marine and Science and Technology High School. Subjects offered in the JROTC course are all related to Coast Guard traditions.
JROTC is considered an alternative to the subject physical education. The course length is four years i.e. from the ninth to the twelfth grade.
Benefits a cadet gets are he or she is most likely qualified to have an ROTC scholarship with up to $1600 of allowance each school year, top cadets will be recommended directly to West Point and Annapolis after graduation and loads of other opportunities.
Schools having JROTC programs even receive funding from the military. This means that the United States Armed Forces fund the salaries of the instructors, the uniforms for the cadets and even the textbooks used in classroom instruction.
The only requirement for the school, in return, is that the JROTC commandant must be a retired commissioned officer.
Life in a JROTC course is very exciting as cadets get to choose co-curricular activities like the drill team, color guard, marksmanship team, rocketry team or orienteering. Schools even hold friendly competitions against each other first in the division, then up to the state level and up to the national level. There are silent drill competitions which features discipline, unity, teamwork, and hardwork to the drilling team. It takes a lot of endurance, time and effort to be able to perfect any drill execution.
JROTC course is not only pointing to the subject about military training, it also serves as a training ground for army cadets and students to uphold unity to one’s country, teamwork, endurance, loyalty, and discipline carried out in life.