A week in the life of a Junior ROTC Cadet



Classic Sam Gross in the new JROTC classroom


When you hear Junior ROTC what is the first thing you think of? Most people would imagine people from the military yelling at everyone and exercising them to their breaking point. Well we are here to tell you, you’re wrong!

Expectation: What people get wrong the most about JROTC is that everyone who takes it plans to join the military when they graduate.

Reality: One of the first few things our Senior Marine Instructor, CWO3, Gunner Muth tells the first year students is that we are not trying to get you to join the military. Gloucester High School has JROTC to help students come out of their shells and be a leader.

Although we do teach military basic knowledge and history, it is not our priority. Our priority is to help students improve their leadership skills to do great things once they leave high school.

JROTC has the same schedule for every week of the school year.

Monday is the first PT day of the week. For those who don’t know, PT stands for Physical Training. Me not being the most fit person, this is very difficult for me. I’m not like other cadets who can sprint everywhere without stopping to catch their breath. My stamina is very low so I cannot run that far. However, I can do stationary workouts no problem. Although Monday PT is very hard, it feels really good afterwards when I know I’ve tried my hardest.

Tuesdays are dedicated to classroom time. In the classroom we learn Marine Corps history, basic knowledge, and leadership skills. Personally, it depends on what we are learning to determine whether class time is hard or not. I know basic knowledge like the back of my hand. However, when it comes to battles/war, or anything under that topic, I am absolutely clueless. Either at the end of the week or the following week, we get quizzed on what we’ve learned so be sure to take notes, I learned that the hard way.

Wednesday is drill day. Everyone sees drill as just marching around everywhere while someone yells stuff at you. However it is more than just that. Drill can be defined as getting from one place to another with discipline. Drill makes a platoon (or organized group of cadets) look sharp and together if done correctly. However, it takes a lot of practice. Drill day is personally what I’m best at. I help cadets who have trouble with the drill movements or I teach first years who haven’t learned it yet.

Thursdays are well known as uniform day. Cadets have to get themselves squared away in order to get a good grade. If you are absent or you “forget,” you have until next Thursday to make it up otherwise it stays as a zero. I don’t remember ever missing a uniform day. Considering it is worth a decent chunk of your grade, I wouldn’t risk missing it. When it comes to wearing the uniform, I’m pretty decent unless it comes to my hair. No matter how hard I try to make it look neat, my hair is always very frizzy and hard to tame. It always sticks up everywhere causing me to get points taken off for my uniform grade. However, I have never gotten below a 90 for a grade so I’d say I am doing fairly well.

Friday is the second PT day of the week, which is more fun than Mondays PT. Cadets usually play games like soccer, capture the flag, and floor hockey, but sometimes cadets can be found in the weight room. I think it is a good way to end the week,  just to kick back and have a free day for PT, after a whole week of doing different things. I usually spend time in the weight room attempting to use everything. Although I have no idea what I’m doing, I still have fun.

ROTC also gives cadets opportunities to go out in the community and do some community service, as well as go on field trips. Not to mention, the program has an abundance of extracurricular activities and teams you can join like drill team, which can be divided into armed drill and unarmed drill, rifle team, and PT team.

MCJROTC is a lot more than it seems. So us cadets will continue to “about face” from these stereotypes and continue our lives as students until we graduate.