History of JROTC
The Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) came into being with the passage of the National Defense Act of 1916 as the US prepared to enter WWI in 1917. Two levels of ROTC were established, Junior and Senior.
Senior ROTC programs were established at colleges and universities. Their primary mission was to commission officers for service in the US Army. The equipment and instructors were provided by the active duty Army.
Junior ROTC programs were established at high schools. Their primary mission was to prepare male teenagers for military service. Equipment and instructors were provided by the active duty Army. These programs were looked upon as a source of enlisted recruits and officer candidates.
In 1964, the ROTC Vitalization Act expanded JROTC programs to the other services; Navy, Marines, and Air Force. As a result, active duty Army instructors were replaced with military retirees.
Eight years later, in 1972, females were allowed in JROTC programs as cadets. Females were previously allowed as “sponsors.” South Dakota State University was the first to graduate women in the college ROTC program, on 1 May 1976. By May 1981, approximately 40,000 women were enrolled in college and university ROTC units throughout the United States. By May 1981, over 32,000 were enrolled in the high school units.
In 1987 the first true mission statement for JROTC stated, “Motivating young people to be good Americans,” which was later modified. Today the JROTC mission statement states, “To motivate young people to be better citizens.”
JROTC taught combat tactics and combat weapons training, and military based tactics such as first aid. In 1990 everything took a change as a result to a curriculum change. The Curriculum dropped combat tactics and combat weapons training, and increased the focus on citizenship. As of 2005, there are 1420 schools with JROTC programs, approximately 278,000 cadets, approximately 3600 instructors and more than 300 schools on a waiting list to establish their own JROTC program.
The JROTC program was established in March of 1919 with 324 cadets. There are four instructors, who are military retirees. The current enrollment is 329 cadets, with 155 females and 174 males.