JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – Young men and women from
2nd Brigade, Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps competed in the
annual Raider Challenge here May 11, 2013.
Cadets from the Fort Hamilton High School Junior Reserve Officer
Training Corps program in Brooklyn, N.Y., cheer on their school's
Raider Team during the Raider Challenge at Joint Base
McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., May 11, 2013. The Fort Hamilton Raider
Team, known as the "Wardawgs," was one of several teams that
competed in head-to-head team events such as a 3K run, an event
called the "gauntlet," the one rope bridge event, and a team 5K run.
(Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Darron Salzer)
In teams of eight men, women, or coed, the cadets
competed in events such as a team three-kilometer run, an
event called the “gauntlet,” an Army Physical Fitness Test
and a five-kilometer road march.
Army Col. Twala
Mathis, brigade commander, said nearly 20 JROTC teams from
the Northeast Region were competing – the largest number to
“As the years go by and this [event] continues
to improve, I think we're going to have more and more of the
Junior ROTC teams from throughout the Northeast Region that
will be able to come here and compete,” Mathis said.
For Mathis, the JROTC program is an incredible tool to
develop better citizens for the future.
think the JROTC program is one of the best programs in high
schools,” she said. “It is a super program designed to focus
primarily on developing and mentoring and coaching the
students to become better citizens.”
Brenda Gainey, the chief of 2nd Brigade, JROTC, “the Junior
ROTC mission is to motivate students to be better citizens
and being a better citizen means knowing how to take charge
and contribute to the wellbeing of your community.”
One of the ways to create better citizens is by making sure
students understand that graduating high school is the
priority, the two leaders agreed.
advocate for students to go to college, but we also
recognize that college is not for everyone,” said Gainey,
who serves as a liaison between the brigade and its higher
headquarters, U.S. Army Cadet Command.
at the core of the JROTC program, and Mathis said it is one
of several skills that can be critical to the development of
“Improving their leadership skills,
improving their communication skills – writing, reading and
understanding the importance of being a team and coming
together to pull through whatever challenges they may have
is also a priority because they really are the future
leaders of America,” Mathis said.
“Leadership is very
important,” Gainey said. “If you have that skill, you can
really succeed in anything.”
Mathis said that in her
experience, students who join JROTC come from all walks of
life and all economic backgrounds.
their socioeconomic backgrounds, JROTC is a leadership
program and at the end of the day it's all about developing
those skills to become a better citizen,” she said.
As the liaison for 116 schools – 10 of which are in Europe –
Gainey cautioned that JROTC is not a military organization,
nor is it a tool used to recruit students into the military.
“We do not recruit students to go into the military, but
since we are using that military model some of the cadets
will choose that career path,” she said.
is very important,” Gainey said. “If you have that skill,
you can really succeed in anything.”
Junior ROTC is a
program that, regardless of whether students enter the
military or not, is worth its weight in gold, said Mathis.
“I think it is a program that serves our nation well and
continues to serve our nation well,” she said. “When you
look at [all of the benefits] of the program, it's really a
program that is worth all of the resources that go into it.”
By Army National Guard Sgt. Darron Salzer
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