At the corps of the issue


Spencer Taft

An E Block ROTC class is briefed before uniform inspection.

SPENCER TAFT, Staff Writer

Walking into the school through the main entrance, it’s no secret that ROTC has a presence in the school. The trophies of our drill and rifle team’s conquests take center stage as the centerpiece of the first floor hall.  Yet the general public’s opinion on ROTC has remained a mystery.

 I honestly wouldn’t know “said senior marine instructor CW03 (Gunner) Muth about the ROTC’s reputation. “I don’t really follow that. I would hope it was good, but I don’t know.”

 The students who sign up for ROTC rarely regret it. “It’s made me a better person,” said junior Leia Sturdevant.  “I have more of a backbone, and more discipline.” However, many cadets, such as freshman Austin Hildoman see ROTC as a responsibility.  “It’s good, but it requires determination and willingness to work hard and listen.”

As marine instructor Master Sergeant Dubose puts it,  “It’s definitely more [of a responsibility] because more is expected. When you show up to ROTC, you’re put in more uncomfortable situations. You can’t hide as much.”

 Gloucester’s ROTC is regarded as one of the oldest in New England, having been present in the school since 1884, with the Marine corps running it since 1996. The trophies both in the main hallway and the ROTC classroom show the program’s pedigree in air rifle shooting and competition drill.

 With 117 cadets, the ROTC makes up 14 percent of the 856 total students in the school. While this may seem like a fairly small percentage, Many non-cadets are restricted more by their schedules than any misconceptions they may have had. “I’m not really interested, but if I had more time I would probably join.” Said student A.J Romero-Oliver. “I decided not to take ROTC because I’m really athletic and I love sports. It just isn’t for me.” Other students held a similar opinion. “I wouldn’t do it because I run year round” said senior William Pierce, “But I feel like it’s helpful for joining the military.”

 Many students also reported having friends in ROTC. “It was suggested by some friends” Said Hildoman” but it was a personal decision,” As a non-cadet, Romero-Oliver held a similar opinion. “Yeah, I had some friends [in ROTC] but they never really pressured me.” He said.

Placing former military personnel in a school may seem problematic, but as instructor for 3 years, Master Sergeant Dubose still remembers what it was like adjusting to dealing with students. “You would think it would be different to deal with problems at a marine base vs. the halls of a high school, and dealing with student issues are different,” he said, “Fortunately, I lived at a school for a decade before coming here, so it was not difficult at all.”

Here in Gloucester, from the war memorials scattered about town to the graveyards full of American flags every memorial day, the military has had no shortage of presence in town, and students wishing to be a part of that tradition are encouraged to consider ROTC as a class option, though It isn’t for everyone.

“I don’t see any risk associated with ROTC” Said Master Sergent Dubose, “But we all have a fear of the unknown, so the natural reaction is fight or flight.” “Don’t listen to rumors,” .Gunner Muth said. “Choose for yourself.”