Air Force JROTC program helps students grow


Commanders E. Kim, M. Kim, Lee, Cho, Le, A. Kim and Yuan pose together as each commander placed in their respective Raider Competition.

Brynn Feighery, Online Editor-in-Chief

Chantilly is one of eight high schools in Fairfax County with a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC). Of these schools, Chantilly is the only school that offers an Air Force JROTC program. Other schools are home to Army, Navy, or Marine Corps programs. All students are welcome to join Chantilly’s JROTC program and are given the opportunity to grow and learn as individuals as well as ascend through the ranks by their involvement in the course.

At the college level, ROTC trains cadets into commissioned officers of the United States Armed Forces. The JROTC program for high school students seeks to instill core values of citizenship, service and personal responsibility in its participants. This program was created as part of the National Defense Act of 1916 and later expanded under the 1964 ROTC Vitalization Act.

“I learned about the program through my older siblings who joined the class, and decided that I would try it,” Cadet Senior Airman and junior Max Tran said. “This is my first year as a JROTC cadet, and I’m loving it so far.”

The Air Force JROTC program has a regimented weekly schedule. Students in this program learn many life skills, including public speaking, on Monday through Wednesday. There is uniform inspection on Thursdays and physical training on Fridays. Throughout the week, cadets are taught basic military knowledge and Air Force aviation history.

“JROTC also teaches you a lot about how to serve your community and nation with pride,” Cadet First Lieutenant and senior Lauren Collins said.

Cadets in Chantilly’s Air Force JROTC program participate in many activities outside of class. For example, the Drill Team enters competitions in carrying out military movements, using flags and rifles. Another group is the Raider Team, in which individuals participate in competitions involving obstacle courses and military tactics.

Cadets are assigned to different groups that are responsible for leading various aspects of the course.

“Cadets of the Physical Training Team create the entire plan for physical training, whereas the cadets of the Logistic Team ensure the management of all inventory in the unit,” Cadet Major and senior Kalvin Yuan said. “Though the instructors lend a helping hand every once in a while, cadets are responsible in ensuring the welfare of the squadron and its effectiveness.”

Beyond the activities in and outside of the classroom, cadets often boast about the camaraderie and sense of community they experience in the program.

“Unique to AFJROTC, we act as a family for the cadets of this course,” Yuan said. “ We share a sacred bond of trust and respect, incomparable to any other sport or club out there.”