The frequent question, “How do we forge good American citizens?”has been asked every year, and it is addressed differently by every group in society. The National Defense addressed this question by creating the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) for all four military branches: Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy. Although eligibility requirements and specific mission vary among branches, they share the primary goal of developing responsible and informed citizens, who are motivated to obtain higher education and take on leadership positions. All four armed services generally require students to maintain acceptable academic achievements, physical fitness, and to proudly represent the military branch by maintaining appropriate dress and appearance standards and conduct (Helium). The Air Force’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program instills this goal for a better society, but the focus is more on the rewards the students, also known as cadets, obtain for themselves rather than for society. Students who are active participants of AFJROTC receive many rewards that are beneficial for them while in school, but also for a life time.
The history of Junior Reserve Training Corps (JROTC) can be traced back to its founder, Army Lieutenant Edgar R. Steevers; who founded the program in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 1911. Lieutenant Edgar R. Steevers believed that a cadet corps composed of high school students would encourage them to be better citizens. Following Lieutenant Edgar R. Steevers dreams, the National Defense Act of 1916 was passed; this act authorized high schools and non-preparatory schools to establish a junior course. Later on, the Public Law 88-647 or ROTC Vitalization Act of 1964 formally established the Junior Reserve Training Corps (JROTC), while implementing the customs and regulations of each military branch according to the military branch that was been represented. The Air Force opened its first JROTC programs in the year 1966 and from then on has had a tremendous success (Jeanne M. Holm).
Air Force JROTC follows the ROTC Vitalization Act of 1964, but has its own curriculum, which bring uniqueness to the program and without doubt enhances the knowledge of the cadets. Air Force JROTC encompasses forty percent of the curriculum to classes on aviation science, this classes cover flight history, aerospace power development, navigation and aircraft flight principles, space technology, rocketry among many other aerospace essentials (Helium). Another forty percent is focused to leadership education (U.S Air Force). Leadership education is taught in every aspect of AFJROTC, as it is the driving force of the program. AFJROTC is cadet driven, meaning that from a cadets first year, dozens of leadership positions are offered; cadets who are in their first year can start from been an element leader (in charge of about four cadets) and move through the years to be the group commander (in charge of all the cadets). The heart of leadership rests in a cadet’s ability to manage time; a well-developed leader is one who can accomplish any task and teach it to other cadets with an adequate amount of time, as explained to me by Sgt. Allen. The remaining twenty percent is guided to physical fitness (U.S Air Force), where cadets are expected and encouraged to maintain a standard amount of physical endurance. The purpose is to maintain fit cadets who can perform any task and drill without problems, but overall to promote a healthier life style for a more prosperous society. Cadet Nathan Sanchez explained that having physical fitness in AFJROTC helps because cadets can increase their life expanse, perform better academically, and “it relieves stress.” Among the activities the cadets do in the class room there are also field trips that are essential for the development and understanding of the cadets. According to Helium, “Activities outside the classroom include visits to air bases and civilian aviation facilities,...
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