JROTC cadets impress recruiters, leadership during school visit

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Bobby Pilch
  • 367th Recruiting Group, Air Force Reserve Command

Air Force Recruiting Service senior leaders and Total Force recruiters gathered at Hoover High School here April 22 to engage with and inspire the school’s young Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps cadets.

Cadet Carol Pavlak, an ROTC squadron commander, former captain for the drill team and honor student, kicked off the afternoon with a formal briefing.

“The mission of our unit is to develop citizens of character devoted to serve their community and nation,” she said. “One of our main goals this year was to win at the Air Force JROTC Open Drill Nationals, which we did by placing third out of more than 25 teams at the competition in Dayton, Ohio. The other goal is to grow our program so that we have more senior leaders to mentor our younger members.”

Pavlak went on to explain more about the JROTC program.

“This program is a typical class that lasts 45 to 50 minutes where we teach high school students about their rights, obligations and privileges as citizens of the United States,” she said. “The class counts as an extracurricular, but also as a physical education class because we do physical training twice per week. Students can sign up for JROTC as an extracurricular, and it’s really good if you put it on your college application.

“One of the most important elements of JROTC is cadet leadership,” she continued. “Since the cadet corps is led by students, they play a vital role within the corps. Similar to the Air Force, JROTC uses a rank structure to promote cadets as they progress from their freshman to junior year.”

Outside of the classroom, the cadets participate in several optional extracurricular activities that align with their mission.

“There are several activities within the program cadets can participate in outside of the classroom, such as our drill team, color guard, push-up team, drone team and orienteering (land navigation) team,” Pavlak said. “They can choose which one they want to join. We need to be connected and learn how to work as a team, as well as develop friendships.”

Col. Chris Moulton, an Alabama native and instructor for Hoover’s JROTC program, stressed that the program would not be as successful as it is without support from the community and family members.

“I always tell people that a JROTC program can survive without parental support, but it can’t thrive,” he said. “We’ve got a booster club team that’s been very successful, and we couldn’t have gotten to nationals if they hadn’t done a lot of fundraising support to help us out.”

After Pavlak’s presentation, Brig. Gen. Lisa M. Craig, AFRS deputy commander, addressed the cadets and shared her career experiences prior to heading to the drill pad for a demonstration by Hoover’s award-winning JROTC drill team.

“What an amazing presentation,” Craig said. “Your confidence, your poise, the ability to relate the information, I couldn’t be prouder to be here with all of you. Whether you choose to serve or not, you are our nation’s best and brightest hope for the future. Just in the short amount of time you’ve been in ROTC, you’re already making a difference not only in your community here, but your school and your neighborhoods.”

To learn more about the Air Force Junior ROTC program, click here.