Air Force ROTC offers incoming students several opportunities

Ariane R. Cavin

Students from East High School in Akron do push-ups at the Air Force JROTC field day on Saturday at the Gym Annex. Local area high school JROTC units visited Kent State to learn about ROTC on the college level. ARIANE R. CAVIN | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

There are several differences between high school and college, but for one day, cadets in Air Force ROTC and Junior ROTC put those differences aside and focused on one thing – their love for the Air Force.

Students from local high school Air Force JROTC units visited Kent State Saturday to learn more about ROTC on the college level.

“We want to reach as many JROTC units as we can,” said Konrad Crockford, senior political science major. “And we want the units to come together between themselves.”

The day was filled with various physically and mentally demanding activities. JROTC cadets started the day with push-ups, sit-ups and other physical fitness exercises. Their units were given trophies for winning competitions in the area of physical fitness, creative drill, ultimate Frisbee, tug of war and individual drill evaluation.

“We wanted to give a fun event to surrounding JROTC units,” Crockford said. “We also provide a service to them.”

There are now approximately 800 JROTC units nationwide and 150 more units plan to be added over the next two years. The Delaware County OH-12 unit was the 12th unit established in the nation. The unit is comprised of five high schools including Delaware Hayes, Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty, Big Walnut and Buckeye Valley and came to Kent State Saturday to participate.

“It’s a citizenship building program,” said retired Lt. Col. Russ Anible of the Delaware County unit who helps teach the 12th unit. “It teaches the values of leadership, teamwork and community service.”

One activity focused on learning discipline and patience. The high school students played ultimate Frisbee, but were not able to jump, dive, laugh, or smile.

“Ultimate Frisbee teaches self-control, because kids want to jump and dive, and you can’t do that in ultimate Frisbee,” said Chief Master Sgt. Carlos Orozco of East Tech High School. “Students are given a penalty if they violate a rule and they stay there until their leader scores and comes to get them.”

Even though Saturday was about recruitment, the main idea that Orozco has to enforce in students is that they do not have a military obligation if they participate in JROTC. Only about 5 percent of students involved in JROTC will end up in the military, he said.

There are currently about 117 cadets in the program at East Tech High. The four-year curriculum for JROTC at East Tech High School prepares better citizens for America, he said.

“We teach the cadets to have respect because that is something missing in society,” Orozco said. “Respect must start with yourself, because if you do not respect yourself you won’t respect others.”

With the success of the field day, Capt. Rudi Anger, executive officer of Air Force ROTC at Kent State said they hope to include Army JROTC units next year. Air Force ROTC cadets from Kent State helped JROTC cadets realize that ROTC can continue into college and even lead to a career in the military.

The local schools that attended include: East Tech High School, of Cleveland; East High School, of Akron; Buchtel High School, of Akron; Trumbull Career Center; Rutherford B. Hayes, and students from the Delaware County Air Force JROTC OH-12 unit.

Contact ROTC reporter Ariane R. Cavin at [email protected].