JROTC: Take a Chance on It


Johnathan Hampton, Writer

The Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Corps has 870 units with over 100,000 students that attend them in high schools worldwide. The goals of AFJROTC are to encourage personal responsibility, promote service to the United States, introduce citizenship and its values to students, and to give students a sense of accomplishment.

The one here at Bob Jones is included among the 870 units worldwide. It’s overseen by Chief Master Sergeant Clark and Lieutenant Colonel Herd who masterfully run the program.

JROTC here at Bob Jones has gained prominence here in the community while also gaining the attention of students. “JROTC is really great and helps you develop your career for later on,” said Alex Vinson, a freshman here at Bob Jones. “I think they’re fantastic,” responded Chenoa Gentle. Despite the fact that JROTC has a good reputation here, not many students seem too interested in joining.

Why is that? The problem isn’t familiarity. In a survey of 84 students, only 4 answered that they had never heard of the program. In the same survey, only 8 of them answered that they planned to join JROTC in the future but not at that current time. In addition to this, 25 students responded that they either heard or think that’s it’s like boot camp, or that they’d have to join the military if they signed up.

In a separate survey of 24 students who are already in a program, (such as Band, Engineering, Drama, etc.), only 5 of them said they would join JROTC if they weren’t in that program they were taking.

When asked why so few people join the program, Chief Clark responded, “Because they don’t understand what JROTC is about. Additionally, they misperceive what we are about.”

“The vast majority of people believe that they’ll have to join the military.” He added that most are scared that the program is full of bossy commanders that yell or force others to do things. He also said that most don’t understand that it prepares them for life whether it be for college, the military, or the work force.

However, despite the lack of student interest in JROTC, they’ve managed to retain 70% of the 90 total students that joined in the school year of 2014-2015. And though it may seem like there has been a decline in the number of students joining, Chief Clark actually confirmed that over the last couple of years the numbers have slowly begun to creep back up due to advertising.

Still, there are other factors that affect the numbers of students that decide to go into JROTC. In the previous survey of 84 students, 15 of them said that they just don’t like the program. One freshman student who formerly attended JROTC said that she felt the program wasn’t in the community enough. She added that maybe if they were more involved in Madison, they would grow stronger in the community.

Regardless of the issue, JROTC is still a great influence and cultivates excellence in students year after year.