What is ROTC?
You may have heard of the acronym ROTC before but perhaps you are not familiar with what it stands for nor its purpose. The acronym ROTC is short for the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps. The objective of the ROTC program is to serve as a training ground for service in branches of the U.S. military. That being said, the Navy, Air Force, and Army all have their unique ROTC programs. In addition to the ROTC program, high school students can participate in a program known at the Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (or JROTC) to gain valuable experience of military training early.
The origin of both the ROTC and JROTC programs can be traced back to 1916. The passage of the National Defense Act of 1916 was a watershed piece of legislation that allowed for the expansion of military forces during peace and war, the mobilization of the National Guard during states of emergency, along with the ROTC program. Specific to the ROTC program, the National Defense Act of 1916 enabled military training for colleges and high school students through this nascent training organization.
According to Title 10, Section 2031 of the U.S. Code, the JROTC program is designed to provide students with three years of military instruction in addition to qualified instructors (current or prior U.S. Armed Forces officers), uniforms, and applicable academic materials. The U.S. Army has published data supporting the fact that over a quarter of a million high school students are currently enrolled in the JROTC program.
Several U.S.-based high schools have both 3 & 4 year JROTC programs underwritten by various military branches. Below you will find a variety of JROTC programs and a cross-section of curricular activities you may be involved with as part of the program.
Navy (NJROTC): Drill ceremonies, ship handling, navigational instruction, communication electronics, and first aid.
Air Force (AFJROTC): Flight science, astronomy, navigational instruction, drill formation, and principles of flying.
Army (AJROTC): Air rifle mastery, first aid, fitness challenges, and drill formation.
Coast Guard (CGROTC): Drill formation, nautical science, military history, rocketry, and orienteering.
Marine Corps (MCJROTC): Color guard, air rifle training, drill formation, and retreat ceremonies.