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JROTC Program and Its Impact on Me

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JROTC Program and Its Impact on Me
Koby B Simas
ENG 101.W04
Significant Event Essay
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
JROTC and the Impact it had on my Life Have you ever been in a program that has changed your life? For three years I was in a program that did that, for me that program was the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) at Mountain Grove High School in Mountain Grove Missouri. This program changed many things for me. This story is personal and shows the good and bad things that I did in that program and changed my views on life, people, and my values. I first started the JROTC program was my freshman year of high school when I moved from Alaska to Missouri. I at first did not know about the program when I arrived at the school to register for my classes. I walked into the principal’s office and Mrs. Stumpff, the principal, helped me to set up my schedule. I got all of my core classes though when it came to electives I tried to tell her what it was that I am interested in. When I told her that I loved to have things organized and that I was OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) she called in a teacher. The teacher that she called in was a teacher that I would get to know for the next three years of my life. Master Sargent Long (MSgt Long) walked into the office not more than two minutes later. MSgt and I talked for around thirty minutes about what the program was about and how it was. In the end I made the decision to try it out. My first year in JROTC was to me more about learning their ways and breaking my bad habits. Before JROTC I always viewed the community as unimportant to me. Though through going through all of the community service we did and helping out earning point in the program at basketball concession stands as a vendor I learned that it is the community who helps to make sure that the schools have what they need and that they are the ones who keep the school programs alive. I spent every night we had a football game or basketball game doing something in JROTC to help make sure that the program stayed I started to view the program as a way of life for me. To be honest also before the program I had a bad habit of stealing money from my father. With the JROTC program I learned in that first year about morals and ethics of Marines since that is the type of JROTC program I was in. This caused me to look at what I had done and see the negative things I did. After a couple months in the program I started to get a job and I paid off my dad for all the money that I took form him. All that I learned in my first year the basics of how I run my life now I love to be honest and to work hard I have one of the best work ethics I have been told when I am given a task I tend to get it done and not wait on it and put it off. My second year was by far the best year I had in JROTC. This is the year that I learned all of my leadership skills. We got a new Lieutenant Colonel (LtCol), LtCol Swier, which changed the program drastically. In this year we had allot of people drop out of the program because they did not like or want to have the new LtCol. That bumped me and my three friends up. I became the third in command of the whole program within my second year which is normally a third year cadet’s job. I also became the leader of the drill team, riffle team, and the physical training team. I stepped up allot and spent about ninety percent of my time at the high school after before and during school. I was a person who was busy all the time when I was home I had chores to do and family to watch so I was constantly doing JROTC things at home while watching my siblings. I had to learn the motto that a leader shows up early never on time because on time is late for those with followers. I wound up to where I got up at four in the morning and was at the school at five in the morning which was one hour before drill practice and three hours before school. I had been trusted with keys to the school I would show up every morning and set up the plans for practice prepare for my other two team plans and set up the gym for practice before anyone else arrived. Then during the school hours I would spend spare time that I had planning and setting up schedules flyers and paperwork for JROTC. I set my schedule up for the year to where I had three class periods in JROTC and still made sure I was getting all of the credits I needed to graduate on time. I made it high in the program this year. I became an officer in the program normally a reward for the fourth and final year of the program; I made my school and JROTC letter for my jacket, and my jacket for free. This year taught me that a leader is not only the person who leads people but also the teacher of skills and the person who steps back and lets others try to lead as well. This year taught me the importance of a great work ethic, the importance of friends to help you out, the importance of family and support, and most important of all the importance of standing up for what you believe in. That year was a year that changed my life that was the year I was finally not the kid no one wanted to hang out with because he was nerdy and annoying but the kid that everyone look up to as the strong, smart, and helpful kid. I was the kid who if you had a problem or needed help was there to help you. I was a person that was considered to be nice and a leader. I stepped out of my zone to fill in the shoes of people who didn’t have the courage to do it a person who kept our program alive by keeping people interested in it so that we had the number of kids we needed to stay open. My final year in JROTC is the most important one to me. This year I had to leave the program but also the year that made the most impact on the program and my life. This was the year that me and my friends found out the program may be shut down, it is the year that we wrote letters and saved our program and the year that the program changed the most. This year taught me a very important lesson. That lesson is that nothing is ever set in stone that traditions will change, that people have to adapt. This year was so much like the last one with me always working like I did the year before, but the most dramatic thing this year is the thing that finally caused me to leave the program at the end of that year. It was most likely the reason why our program did not get saved, and the reason that everyone in the school lost their pride in our program. This year was great at the beginning of the program though at the end our event happened. We were preparing for our graduation for the seniors that year in school. I had set up a color guard the same as we do every year. During one practice our LtCol came up to me and told me that he was changing the way that we were going to do the color guard this year. I asked him how he was going to do that and he told me that instead of presenting the flag to our seniors we were going to go turn the other way and turn to the crowd to present it. To me this affected me allot because I was the face of the drill team and to the school this showed disrespect to our seniors. Presenting the flag to our seniors was a sign of our respect to our seniors that the JROTC had been doing since it started and was something that we did to honor our seniors because they were the ones the whole ceremony was celebrating for their work and dedication to finish school. This caused the program to look bad and made the whole town not like it. When that happened it caused me to view the world as a different place, a place of judgment where reason is abandoned for what one person in charge views is right. For me the most experience of change that I got was when my three friends and I saved our program. My friends and I did many things to save it taking time out of our lives to get together and do something amazing. For three weeks we called the director of region three the region that our program was in, LtCol. Carruth, and tried to talk to him. We all also sent letters and had members of our community send letters with ours saying why the program was great for the town and how much it helped the town with services and to help the kids. In the end of our trying I finally got ahold of Carruth and talked with him. He told me that he got our letters and that he was going to give our program another chance but that there was several stipulations to that. That stipulation where that we had to get seventy five kids minimum in the program that next year and that we had to raise money ourselves for that next year’s trips. When we informed our Colonel of that he was surprised and that is when we started our campaign. We went to the middle school and performed dour drill cards showed our riffles and let them experiment with them. We started raising money for the JROTC program when we did concession stands or went out to do community service. The local businesses put money forth and when all was said and done we succeeded. We got eighty five kids in the program and raised over five thousand dollars for our trips that next year. When Carruth saw the effort we put into saving our program and the affect our community gained he told me personally and allowed me to tell everyone that our program was saved. That was the most experiential moment of my life and a point in my life that I will cherish forever So for me my experience in the JROTC program has changed my views on life, people, community, values, ethics, and the program itself. Though this has caused me to live my life like the program before it changed, it has affected my life and many of my views in how life and people are. So my answer to my own question is yes I have been in a program that has changed my life in many ways. That is my JROTC life changing story.

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