It’s out there and unfortunately, you need to be ready for it. Read here about how JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps) units in the San Fransisco area have adapted their drill to outside pressures.
When I was in Daytona for Nationals in 2011 (read the article here) , I had my table setup outside in the amphitheater area and spoke to interested people all weekend long answering all kinds of questions about the cadets and one man walked up to me and actually said, “Hitler Youth Weekend?” I responded with an explanation of what the weekend is all about and how all of the cadets are in high school and some sort of JROTC or similar program. He muttered something about there not being a difference and I just let him walk off. There is never any sense in dealing with such a foolish viewpoint.
Let us now fast forward to today- and this “today” will still be relevant at all times in the future, I am quite sure. There is an account on Instagram that advocates the abolishing of JROTC. But this is nothing new. This is actually a rehashing of the same anti-military rhetoric that began in the 1950s.
Please, do not write anything abusive or impolite on the posts for this account. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, even if it is uninformed.
“Brainwashed, power-hungry puppets”, is what JROTC cadets are called, along with the usual, dumb, stupid, robots, etc. I have worked with cadets for well over 20 years as of 2015 and each group of new cadets I work with has never shown a single, “Brainwashed, power-hungry puppet”. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen countless goofy kids who can barely walk and chew gum at the same time due to their growing so quickly, cadets who shy away from speaking let alone calling a command, only to end up four years later as knowledgeable, confident young men and women who have learned, gun safety, leadership, sportsmanship, followership, respect, teamwork, organizational skills, and the list goes on and on. You can say all you want that JROTC is evil and that the military lurks in the classroom waiting for the unsuspecting children to ensnare them and force them to join a service branch. I will never believe it, because I went through the program and have worked with cadets of high school-age and younger who have amazing stories to tell of how JROTC taught them so much that is good in their life.
I will say this, Henry Kissinger once said that the members of the military are, “Dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy. There is some truth to what the anti-military people say- a tiny amount. However, one cannot dismiss the benefits that JROTC gives cadets. Don’t just see the evil that lives in some members of the government and then paint that broad brush to include JROTC, the benefits are too great.
I am all for JROTC, ROTC and other cadet programs. I have nothing but great memories of friendships, learning situations and several drill team championship trophies. I do, however, see how someone could equate JROTC with brainwashing youth into enlisting and fighting a war just to die for more oil. That viewpoint, in my opinion is not correct, though. Maybe the ones who dislike the military and subsequently JROTC and ROTC, have never taken part in the class in high school or, quite possibly, they did take a JROTC class in their freshman year and dropped the class like a hot potato because they did not want to conform to the military standards of a haircut, neat and tidy uniform and the requirements of putting “sir” or a rank after addressing one of the instructors.
I get it. The military is not for everyone. Less than 10% of the American populace has served their country. In testimony before Congress each of the Chiefs of Staff from each branch stated that anywhere from 30% to 50% of JROTC cadets join their service; the Marine Corps is around 30% and the Air Force around 50%. The other services are somewhere in the mix. Those percentages include direct enlistments and also those who go on to college ROTC and then are commissioned.
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Here are some unsolicited comments from cadets who follow my account on Instagram.
“JROTC is the best program I could ask for its made me who I am and taught me some great values.”
“The people in [JROTC] are my second family and my instructor is a father figure to me. This program changed my life. I’ve made amazing new friends and I have so many great opportunities ahead of me. I refuse to let someone who shows such disrespect affect the way I feel about JROTC. The important thing that I tell myself when I see that person’s posts in the tags is that we are a bigger force than they are and will always do more good than they are by sitting around and bashing our organizations. JROTC is and always will be my life.”
“JROTC saved my life….I used to be depressed and a self harmer and I hated the world yet as soon as I joined they taught me how to repect myself as well as others and it showed me hope. JROTC is the best thing that’s ever happened to me and if they ban it were going to have gang members and lawless and low self esteem teens everywhere. This program has helped so many kids with the same problems and we’re lucky we have the chance to be a part of it.”
Don’t let others who are misinformed or just plain ignorant, rile you. Don’t let them get under your skin and make you angry and don’t argue with them. If you feel you must, explain your point of view like the posts above, but do not get personal and do not attack the other person. Be polite and let the other person deal with their own hatred. By arguing you just add fuel to their fire, needlessly. Be positive and do positive things, join the Facebook group, JROTC for Life group, share stories and achievements. Let others know you are not a zombie.
Have a great JROTC day!!