JROTC cadets enlist support of future recruits
By ALICIA WEIKUM
Special to Leader-Press
The Copperas Cove High School JROTC cadets command attention in the meeting room. The young audience members suddenly get quiet, turn to the front of the room, and intently listen for what’s to come.
At the front of the room stand nine uniformed cadets, formed in a straight line with their hands neatly crossed behind their backs. The cadets are from all different teams, but they all promote discipline, volunteerism, and physical fitness.
Citizenship, leadership, character, and community service are among the core tenets of the Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps the CCHS cadets explained to Copperas Cove Junior High Career Connect students. The students learned about the chain of command, who is in charge, and how that person earned his leadership position.
The JROTC cadets shared their experiences in field competitions, drill competitions, rock climbing, and formal events including the annual military ball. They expressed how they develop friendships and help the community all while having fun and learning leadership skills and developing character.
Eight grader Jordan McGhee listened closely as the visiting cadets shared what was to come for those students who planned to join the program as upcoming freshman.
“The JROTC was great at showing us that JROTC has many different activities in the organization,” McGhee said. “They were funny and friendly throughout their stay.”
The unarmed, female drill team demonstrated various techniques and moves it performs and members explained the significance of the uniforms they wear. The armed drill team also performed for the CCJHS students and demonstrated some of the moves it executes with practice rifles.
The physical training squad briefed students on the benefits of the CCHS JROTC Raider Team and how it not only helps build muscle, but confidence as well. The squad challenged the students to a one-minute push-up contest, one of the common exercises they work on for competitions.
Eight grader Chandler Gastelo accepted the challenge, pushing the cadets to their physical limits. The CCJHS students cheered their fellow classmate and watched as Gastelo came in just shy of first place.
“The JROTC group was fun and friendly,” Gastelo said. “They were organized throughout their presentation.”
Copperas Cove High School boasts one of the largest JROTC battalions in Central Texas with more than 200 members which is about 10 percent of the school’s student body. The Bulldog Battalion has produced several military recruits including the Army’s first female ranger school graduate First Lieutenant Shaye Haver in 2015.