JROTC Prepares Future Military Leaders for Tomorrow


Courtesy of Rolando Aguilar

JROTC students from the Edison Battalion gather at the annual military ball in Fair Oaks, from left to right, c/CPL Bryan Cedillos, c/Cap Andrew Sonora, c/Cap Rolando Aguilar, c/Cap Bazhan Jiwaid, and c/1sgt Eduardo Ramírez.

Rolando Aguilar, Guest Writer

JROTC stands for Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, and is a program that was created in 1916. JROTC has gone through many changes since its inception, but the message is still the same. The mission of the program is to “motivate young people to be better citizens.” This mission statement basically means turning high school students into well adjusted adults who understand their rights and civic duties.

JROTC is a beacon of the American ideals of patriotism, discipline, physical fitness, and general military values. The program embodies all that is American from its diversity to the comradery between cadets and guidance from senior retired soldiers. These retired soldiers put their lives on the line when they were younger and continue to serve this nation by teaching the youth of today and the leaders of tomorrow.

In our region, local high school students attend Army JROTC at the campuses of Edison, West Potomac, and Woodbridge High Schools. The gem of Lewis is the Edison battalion of the JROTC.

I was in the program for three years, and each year of the program was enjoyable. My first year was in quarantine, so it was dulled down a lot but the two following years were my best years in the JROTC. My second year in the JROTC was the year I got my uniform and the year I started to participate in events. The most memorable memory of my junior year is going to New York for the Memorial Day parade in November. It was my first time in New York and kind of scary, but I loved the freedom of being away from home.

The JROTC gave me many opportunities to support the community and do fun events. I also did another parade junior year, “The Review and Retreat” at Edison, in which I was just a regular cadet marching as a company.

My senior year I was chosen as the Alpha Company’s Company Commander, and I was given a lot more responsibilities throughout the academic year. Now I had to lead the company instead of being a random squad member. I loved the task of running an alpha company, It was one of the best years in my program. This leadership position allowed me to come out of my shell, and I started to make friends with other company commanders and the battalion leadership. It was very easy to make friends because we had a common goal of serving the battalion, and we were all so similar in personalities.

My last act as Alpha Company Commander is going to be commanding the graduation color guard. I’ll be in full uniform with all my awards and cords, and after the color guard, I’ll put on my cap and gown with my graduating classmates.

Even though it’s the Edison Battalion, JROTC is a highlight of the Lewis experience. Everyone should at least give it a try next year. Committing to three years of JROTC will help secure you a higher rank within the military when you enlist. The mission of the JROTC is to make you a better person, and I have no doubt in my mind that anyone who joins will be someone great. 

Rolando Aguilar will be joining the Army as a Private First Class this July. He ships off to Basic Training in Ft. Leonard Wood, MO.