What to see in AFJROTC

The+Royal+AFJROTC+attending+and+serving+at+a+veterans+day+service.

Tucker Prosser

The Royal AFJROTC attending and serving at a veteran’s day service.

Tucker Prosser, Editor-in-Chief

Despite being one of the largest and most notable electives at Royal High School, there is very little information circulating about the AFJROTC program. Dating back to 1819, JROTC programs give students an opportunity to go to college and serve their country by taking military science classes alongside standard college courses –  with the students joining a branch of the military upon graduation. “I don’t intend to join the military but the program itself has helped me decide what career path I want to go into in the future,” said Viktoria Padovich, a cadet airman basic.

Students here have access to the prestigious program of Air Force Junior ROTC, which is specifically aimed towards the Air Force and teaching students their core values of, “integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do,” according to Royal’s website.

These values are taught by Colonel Mark Hustedt, who spent 20 years in the military maintaining several important positions and performing major jobs for the United States Air Force. He aims to endow responsibility, promote community service, instill values of citizenship, and bring students a sense of accomplishment. Col. Hustedt also instructs his students through an Aerospace Science and Leadership Education course of study. His effect on the students is noticeable too. 

“The colonel is shaping me into a better person by having me know about the different paths in life. All of the instructors in ROTC tend to fascinate me with their experiences in the Air Force and make me want to strive for more in what I do,” said Padovich.

Containing freshmen, seniors, and everything in between – the AFJROTC is open to all grade and experience levels. Much akin to other developmental programs like scout clubs, the AFJROTC has a tiered hierarchy that its members can climb with enough dedication and time.  This aspect of progression helps add to the sense of accomplishment members feel, and it gives them a source of motivation and pride when showing their dedication and prowesses. 

“Each rank holds its own importance in your journey of being an ROTC cadet. The ranks are earned through work and acts of responsibility and leadership. The more you progress and excel through the ranks, the more you feel connected to the JROTC,” said cadet airman Tommy Shea.

ROTC members can also dedicate a portion of their time to helping their communities through public and community service events, a core value taught in the program. 

“In ROTC, everything is outside.  The class is a structure that gets you ready for what happens outside of the class,” said Ariana Perksy, a cadet airman basic. 

The community service is optional, but remains a strong point for their values and is encouraged. They attend events often, such as the Muddy Warriors competition and meeting veterans. 

“The values taught in ROTC can be applied in everyday life. Leadership roles can be filled, as well as people of character serving our nation however they can, whether it’s through service or community service,” said Shea. 

This all culminates to bring students a sense of community, accomplishment and helps students develop the values that will be needed when they become adults.