NJROTC, A Letter To Our Freshman


Valerie West, Staff

A Letter to our Freshman

Dear Freshmen,

We want you! Most of you freshmen come from Fredericksburg Middle School, so you already know about all the different groups you could join. You’ve got choir and band for you musically talented peeps, colorguard, Red Hots and cheerleading for anyone with decent dance moves, and sports for those who are crazy enough to actually like running.

But who fits into ROTC?

Answer: everyone. ROTC is a place where everyone has the spotlight. You learn dozens of useful skills you’ll use for the rest of your life. I know how boring ROTC can sound, but believe me, it’s interesting.

I myself had no real interest in ROTC or the military. I joined my freshman year with the intention to collect my three credits and say adios to the incredibly hot uniforms and the thousands of rules you have to memorize. But just two weeks in, my mind was changed. In ROTC, I’ve found my best friends and had some of the best times of my life. Being in ROTC has honestly been an experience I`ll be thankful for not passing up for a long, long time. Enough with the sappy, let’s get to all those interesting things I promised.

First off, we`ve got PT. Physical Training. This is our athletics. We may not have all those fancy toys in the weight room, but what we lack in material, we more than makeup for in creativity. We do a number of feel-it-the-next-day workouts and beginning this year, a select few challenges that will make your muscles burst. Don’t worry, ROTC isn’t all hard-core workouts. We have a lot of fun games we play to amp up our competitive cadets.

Next is the push-up team. Believe me, it’s more fun than it sounds. During football season, we take our team onto the sidelines and congratulate our football teams scoring with an exponential amount of push-ups. You may have seen us in our iconic blue uniforms running down the track with the FHS flags. That is only a part of the fun. Before the game we socialize and eat/drink as much as we can to stay awake and alert. The seniors, as a reward for sticking it out all four years, have the opportunity to be on a permanent push-up team, which is one of many perks being a senior on staff.

Now I know there are many competitive students out there, so for all of you, meet drill teams. We have 4 drill teams: colorguard (co-ed, male, and female) unarmed, armed and sword. We also have a rifle team, marksmanship, that competes against hundreds of other schools across the country. Colorguard has at least four members each, left rifle, organizational (Texas) flag, commanding (American) flag, and right rifle. We compete in every drill meet, which if you go to three, you get a letterman jacket (as a FISH!!!), so I highly recommend joining a drill team.

Sword team begins at the next semester mark, and we only compete at one drill meet (sadly), but we also perform the sword arch at homecoming, graduation, and our Annual Military Inspection (AMI). Armed and unarmed have two different marches they do: regulation and exhibition. Regulation is the important stuff, the things the big boss man says we need to know. Exhibition is the fun stuff: riffle tosses, stomps for unarmed, sword tosses (if they`d let us) things like that, and all that is up to our super-dooper important commanders: Jessen Stableford for armed, Nayeli Romero for unarmed, Clayton Elebrcht for sword, Austin West, Nicholas Godwin, and Crystal Aguilar for co-ed, male, and female colorguards.

Now, as a price for all these wonderful benefits, ROTC asks for just a few hours a month from every cadet to do community service, like colorguards for various organizations, or flag set-ups and take-downs on specific holidays. but even these give you benefits, like useful knowledge to rank up, a good rep, and even actual community service hours.

When I started, I was under this strange impression that you just had to go in the military to be in ROTC. I couldn’t be more wrong. All ROTC showed me, on the military front at least, was that the military wasn’t just a backup option- it was a genuine career option, but they don’t force the military on you. Yes, recruiters come and talk to all of us as a class, but that’s mainly for the people looking into the military. ROTC is a military based program, but not military-mandatory. so don’t hesitate to apply for the program just because you aren`t interested in the military.

Just remember, if we don’t have enough cadets in the unit, there will no longer be a unit. it’s up to you, but ROTC really is a good fit for nearly everyone.