NJROTC (Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) is a program designed to instill High School students with the values and skills they will need to succeed. Despite being an official US Navy program, military service is not required after graduation; however, many Cadets will find extensive opportunities awaiting them in the military and college ROTC programs thanks to their time in the unit. For example, an NJROTC Cadet who is active in his or her unit for at least three years will, upon choosing to enlist in any branch of the US Armed Forces after high school, be advanced in pay grade and rank to that of an E-3 after completion of basic training (except for the US Marine Corps). Cadets who choose to attend college and wish to enroll in ROTC units of any branch will also find scholarship opportunities that can cover all or almost all expenses AND provide a $200 monthly stipend, with the requirement that the Cadet then go through their college’s ROTC program to then enlist in the service corresponding with their college ROTC branch. Even Cadets who choose to continue into the civilian world will find extensive benefits from the leadership experience, discipline, and a curriculum only NJROTC can provide.
So, benefits aside, what exactly is NJROTC? The JROTC program’s mission, as stated in the National Defense Act of 1916, is to “instill in students the value of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment.”
To that end, NJROTC at James River High School has three main pillars:
- Service– From its inception, this unit has been committed to helping the local community. With activities ranging from providing ceremonial color guards for special events to spreading gravel at Huguenot Park — our Adopt-A-Spot location — cadets will leave the program with a strong appreciation for the value of helping their community. Additionally, the unit places a strong focus on serving Veterans. Hosting annual Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day ceremonies (Click here to view portions of our Vietnam War round table discussion), running annual fund raisers for Fisher House, and visiting McGuire Veterans’ Hospital to run bingo nights for the Veterans are just a few of the ways James River NJROTC cadets serve our community.
- Leadership– The NJROTC program at James River provides a very unique opportunity for students to learn leadership in the best way possible: by leading others. The yearly activities of the unit are all governed and led by student leaders; field trips, community service projects, fundraising, drill competitions, and even this website are all student led and planned. Leadership roles range from the Commanding Officer -who is responsible for the entire program- to the Supply Officer -who manages and distributes several hundred thousand dollars worth of equipment to the Cadets- all the way down to the
Platoon Leaders -who instruct each class in physical training and military drill. In order to be successful, cadets will learn communications skills, event planning and organization, problem solving, the principles of leadership and followership, public speaking, discipline, and much more. The beauty of the program is in the abundance of leadership opportunities. It is simply up to each student whether or not to meet the challenge and rise to the occasion.
Naval Science– During school, NJROTC class sessions operate in two-week blocks; students will alternate between the academic curriculum and physical training/military drill. During academic weeks, new Cadets learn topics from the Naval Science 1 curriculum, which teaches basic military knowledge, information about the program, and the basics of lifelong skills such as personal fitness, finding the right career, and what it means to be a leader or follower.
During physical training (PT) weeks, cadets will be instructed in the basics of military drill and complete workouts created by our physical fitness officer. The goal of the class is to mold students into cadets who possess sound minds and sound bodies and are ready to serve others as informed and responsible citizens.
In addition to the in-class portion of the program, cadets are highly encouraged to participate with the unit outside of the classroom on one of our many teams. Cadets are given the opportunity to compete with any of the following teams.
- 7 drill teams (marching/rifle spinning)
- Raiders (Extreme physical fitness)
- Air Rifle (marksmanship)
- Orienteering (Land Navigation)
The first leadership opportunity any cadet will likely receive is as a team lead. Given significantly more responsibility and freedom than your typical team captain, team leads plan and run practices. All teams compete against the other JROTC units within Virginia and Maryland that make up Area 5 for a chance to compete in the Area 5 championships.
Sounds interesting, right? So now you may be asking, “How do I sign up?” NJROTC at James River High School is scheduled just like a normal class (it will appear under Naval Science on the course selection form), so talk to your guidance counselor for more information. In addition, make sure to get these required forms filled out prior to participation in any unit activities each year. Not from the James River school district? No worries. You can get a waiver to join our unit, no matter where you live in Chesterfield County. Any other questions? Please email either our Communications Officer or our Senior Naval Science Instructor (Commander Greenwald) at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com respectively. In addition, our address, office hours, and phone number can be found in the bottom right-hand corner of each page on this site.