So I have recently interviewed a retired Marine by the name of Major Richard Todd Slack. He is now a MCJROTC (Marine Corps Reserve Officer Training Corps) instructor at Asheville High School.
Major Slack was first deployed at the Marine Corps Air Station New River, in Jacksonville, NC. After that, he was deployed to Iraq in 2003. Then, in 2009, he was deployed to Afghanistan. He was a helicopter pilot, and then cost analysis afterwards. He now instructs MCJROTC at AHS, and is currently trying to build the program.
MCJROTC is a leadership and team building program based on a military framework. What I mean by military framework is just the drills, uniforms, and ranks. There are no tactics involved, and there is nothing excessively militant. The program also lacks a political affiliation, Currently, it is a very small program that the instructors are trying to build. There are no real requirements for entering, and it is open to everybody regardless of ethnicity, gender identity, grades or anything that one would think would limit their enrollment options. Everyone can apply, everyone is welcome. It teaches cadets (the students enrolled in the program) leadership and teamwork. Contrary to many people’s belief, it is not a military recruitment program. As a matter of fact, only 10% of cadets actually end up going to the military.
There is something for everybody to do in the program, as it is very dynamic and has a wide range of activities for cadets. MCJROTC activities include, but aren’t limited to, drill, physical training, color guard, mindfulness, marksmanship training, as well as military academics. This includes hygiene, finance, and military history. There is also an activity for the more electronically inclined, called cyberpatriot. It’s a program that teaches computer defense, and how to leave a small digital footprint, which is the mark you leave on the internet. There is even a cyberpatriot security competition. This doesn’t mean you get to constantly use your phone, though! There is very little phone usage in MCJROTC.
Many people believe that you get shouted at in MCJROTC. This isn’t true. Leadership isn’t shouting. It is inspiration, purpose, and direction, for the people that you teach and work for you. And if you wonder how the MCJROTC program leads the community, they do Adopt-A-Street and various other community service activities, so if you like helping the community and your school, you should join MCJROTC.
Story by Jonas Suskey
MCJROTC Photo Gallery