Air Force Junior ROTC Heritage

  • Published
  • Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, Maxwell AFB, AL

AFJROTC Heritage Photo

The Junior ROTC program began in 1911 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The originator of the program was Army Lieutenant Edgar R. Steevers, assigned the duty of inspector-instructor of the organized military of Wyoming. The National Defense Act of 1916 authorized a junior course for non-college military schools, high schools, and other non-preparatory schools; the Army implemented Junior ROTC in 1916. Public Law 88-647, commonly known as the Reserve Officer Training Corps Vitalization Act of 1964, directed the secretaries of each military service to establish and maintain Junior ROTC units at public and private secondary schools which apply for and are eligible according to the regulations established by each secretary. Such schools must provide a course of military instruction not less than 3 years in length as prescribed by the military department concerned.

With a modest beginning of 20 units in 1966 Air Force Junior ROTC has grown to almost 900 high schools throughout the world, including units located in Department of Defense Schools in Europe and the Pacific. Junior ROTC enrollment worldwide includes more than 125,000 cadets. Only boys were allowed as cadets in 1966, but Public Law 93-165 amended the requirement that a Junior ROTC unit have a minimum number of physically fit male students, thus allowing female students to count toward the minimum students needed for a viable unit. In 1972 the enrollment included 2,170 females making up 9% of the corps. Since then the number of females has increased to 40% of the cadet corps.

The Air Force Junior ROTC program provides citizenship training and an aerospace science program for high school youth. Enrollment in the Air Force Junior ROTC program is open to all young people who are in grades 9-12. Host schools are selected upon the basis of fair and equitable distribution throughout the nation. Retired Air Force commissioned and noncommissioned officers who are full-time faculty members of the participating high school and employed by the local school board teach Air Force Junior ROTC classes.

Heritage of AFJROTC

60 West Maxwell Blvd., Bldg. 835
Maxwell AFB, AL 36112