More than 100 students wear the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps uniform at Ramstein High School. While they may dress, march and speak the part of service members, that isn’t the goal of the
Their mission is to develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community.
“Only a small percentage of our cadets actually join the military,” said retired Chief Master Sgt. Stephen Dilda, Ramstein High School aerospace science instructor. “The overall mission is focused on citizenship and leadership skills.”
Many students have experienced firsthand the differences being in JROTC has made in their life, including Patrick Young, Ramstein High School JROTC squadron commander, who has been a cadet since he was a freshman.
“I’m really proud to say I’ve been in JROTC for four years,” Young said. “Joining was a great decision. Before high school I was really timid and I used to get bullied. Since joining, I’ve learned how to be more social, speak in public, became more active and lead.”
The cadets have also grown as a team, learning they’re stronger together than as individuals.
“We’ve learned a lot through team-building actives,” said Lucas Mireles, JROTC special assistant. “To be successful we have to work as a team. It doesn’t matter if we wouldn’t normally interact with someone, we have to come together to accomplish common goals.”
For those interested in making the military a career, JROTC has given them the chance to learn through leadership, followership and service.
“I plan on joining the military after high school and this class has helped a lot,” said Patrick Brown, Ramstein High School JROTC flight sergeant. “One of the biggest things JROTC has given me is a leadership position. Being a flight sergeant gives me a chance to prove to my instructors and myself that I can lead.
“It has also given me the opportunity to help others around the community,” he added. “We do volunteer work like food drives, hat and coat checks for the military ball and we’ve escorted distinguished visitors.”
Students outside of JROTC might wonder if it’s a good fit for them, but cadets know it can be for everyone.
“If you’re interested, join,” Mireles said. “It encourages character, integrity and molds you into a better high school student. Worst case, you come out a better person.”