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Joplin High School JROTC program celebrates 100 years

Day of events marks the special occassion

ROTC Anniversary

JOPLIN, Mo. - Deanna Acker visits with her old JROTC instructor major James Osborn. 

She graduated from the Joplin High School Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program in 2001.. but had bigger things in mind. 

Deanna Acker, Forerm Cadet, Army Veteran:"I went to West Point actually, so I was the class of 2005 at West Point, and then went active duty army as a military intelligence officer for five years active duty and a deployment in Iraq."

All accomplishments she credits to the JROTC program. 

Acker:"It helped a lot. When you're in the military, you're asked to do a lot of things you haven't done before, so just to kind of think on your feet, and have to be like really flexible. And that was the same things that we did in JROTC and that our instructors were asking us to do."

Former cadets like Acker, instructors and current cadets were the focus of the 100th anniversary celebration. 

Joshua Reitz, JROTC Instructor:"Congress authorized through the National Defense Act to establish both the senior and the junior programs, and both of them were established in 1916, in preparation really for world war one. So, the first thirty communities that signed up for this program, you could tell were very patriotic communities because they knew their sons would be going to fight." 

An open house allowed  for former and current cadets to discuss their time in the program.. and then came a proclamation from Missouri Governor Mike Parson. 

Mike Parson, Missouri Governor:"At the end of the day, you're a public servant for people who will never see it, that we'll never meet.. and that's because it's our duty."

A second proclamation from Senator Bill White.. and finally a banquet with Senator Roy Blunt as a special guest.. to celebrate the milestone and all the lives the program has changed. 

James Osborn, Instructor for 20 years, Vietnam Veteran:"I still see the impact their making. I still see young people helping set up for the banquet, I still the leadership that's going on here. So, it's making an impact."

Acker:"I hope that there will be a two hundred year anniversary at some point down the line, and that it just keeps going cause I would hate to see them lose that here."

The Joplin JROTC program officially started March 27th, 1919. 

It is the oldest consecutively run JROTC program in the nation.
 


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