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Air Force Junior ROTC and NC-71, Brief History

Image of the Air Force Junior ROTC logoAir Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) can track its heritage to a program founded in 1911 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, by Army Lt Edgar R. Steevers. Lieutenant Steevers was assigned as an inspector-instructor of the organized military of Wyoming. During his assignment, he envisioned a noncompulsory cadet corps comprised of high school students. His program was aimed at making better citizens.

The National Defense Act of 1916 authorized a junior course for non-college military schools, high schools, and other non-preparatory schools. The Army implemented JROTC in 1916. Public Law 88-647, commonly known as the ROTC Vitalization Act of 1964, directed the secretaries of each military service to establish and maintain JROTC units for their respective services. The first Air Force JROTC programs were opened in 1966.

“The purpose of Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps is to instill in students in United States secondary educational institutions the value of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment.” (10 USC Sec 2031)

Air Force JROTC (AFJROTC) is a continuing success story. From a modest beginning of 20 units in 1966, AFJROTC has grown to over 790 units throughout the world, with approximately 103,000 cadets. The AFJROTC program positively influences our country by helping one student at a time. Comprised solely of active duty Air Force retirees, the AFJROTC instructor force is helping to form tomorrow’s nation by educating proud and patriotic cadets—tomorrow’s leaders.

NC-71 JROTC was established in 1972. The first SASI and ASI were LT Col Thomas Hodges and SMSGT James Strickland. The unit was destined for greatness almost from the beginning as it was designated an honor unit its first year eligible. NC-71 has earned the distinction of, “Honor, Outstanding, or Distinguished Unit” which is the highest possible rating, every year since 1990.

After Lt. Col. Hodges retired, Colonel J. Either succeeded him and SMSgt. Strickland continued to serve as the ASI. Colonel Thomas Brown replaced Colonel Either upon his retirement in 1988, and Colonel Brown served as SASI until his retirement in 1993.

In 1993, NC-71 won the distinction of receiving the highest number of ROTC scholarship offers (17) in the nation: 9 Air Force, 5 Army and 3 Navy. Despite the many reasons for celebration in 1993, the cadets were saddened by the retirement of Colonel Brown and the death of SMSgt. Strickland. NC-71 is continuing its fine tradition under the leadership of Lt Col Roderick Haley, CMSgt. Joseph Franco, and CMSgt. Melvin Cooks.

Each individual cadet in the NC-71 program is expected to memorize and internalize the Mission of Air Force JROTC, the Air Force Chain of Command, the National Anthem, the Air Force Song, and the Pledge of Allegiance. By following the AFJROTC Mission, and other rules in this handout, cadets will be successful individually and contribute to the success of NC-71.


Image of the American flag PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

I Pledge Allegiance,
To the flag of the United States of America and
To the Republic for which it stands,
One nation under God, indivisible,
With Liberty and Justice
For All.


Image of Music notesAIR FORCE SONG 


Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder
At’m boys giv’er the gun!
Down we dive spouting our flames from under
Off with one helluva roar!
We live in fame or go down in flames
Nothin’ll stop the US AIR FORCE.

  AFJROTC Links:

Published by Betty Houghtaling on June 3, 2019
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