To the editor:
In certain ways, the JROTC program offered by Richmond Senior High School may be the the most important educational asset on campus. I would like to see many more articles about JROTC to encourage interest and hopefully raise enrollments among the students, and inform community members, especially students’ parents, about military ways, training, and service. I appreciated the Journal article from Sept. 13, page 3A, “JROTC helps build pull-up bars,” as an example. An article like this, even once a week during the school year, would give visibility to this vital program of instruction, such as sports teams get over their seasons. There are a lot of similarities to leading a football team and a drill team when you think about it.
I finished high school and much of my formal college throughout the 1960s, a very turbulent period of American history and social change. Even though I attended large urban high schools, I did not have JROTC. However, I did enter and complete the largest Army ROTC program in the United States at Ohio State University, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1966. My ROTC experience was more beneficial and meaningful to my life, looking back, than my undergraduate and graduate degrees, and all the courses, majors and minors I had. I still have, and treasure, my two main ROTC “textbooks,” “The Armed Forces Officer,” and “FM 22-5: Drill And Ceremonies.” If you were to scan these little books, the ideals, values, and practical training activities of ROTC would stand out: leadership, survival training, responsibility, fitness, confidence, respect for American citizenship values, integrity, getting along with others, community service. Problem solving, critical thinking and planning — essential skills for every job market — are instilled through ROTC leadership training.
I am not familiar with JROTC. I did meet some of the ROTC cadets in my RCC classes during my teaching career, when I attended many years of RSHS athletic events, and during my brief period when I was a substitute teacher at RSHS. One of my best memories of all the Richmond and other high school athletic events was the JROTC American flag raising ceremonies. I think about how crucial today, with the recent crisis about standing for the national anthem and respecting our flag, that JROTC is present to inspire this respect among all in attendance at high school events.
As old people like to say, in my day women were not permitted to enroll in ROTC, and many other barriers existed excluding women once on military active duty. However, all this has changed, and now women are often equal to or exceed the numbers of men in ROTC units, and this may be the case for JROTC.
In closing, I want to encourage more visibility for JROTC, encourage all high school students to consider JROTC, and give consideration for enrolling in ROTC once in college. JROTC is a great opportunity to achieve educational, career and life success beginning in the high school years, while raising your self confidence, and preparing you for college, the job market, and possibly military service. Check JROTC out.