By Sgt. Daniel Schroeder
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – “I am the future of the United States of America” is part of Cadet Creed for the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program. Army JROTC is an opportunity for high school students to learn and develop an understanding of some of the basic soldier’s tasks and their experiences in the Army.
To offer a more interactive, educational and exciting experience, cadets from the state of Hawaii are encouraged to participate in the JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge, hosted at Schofield Barracks offering mentorship from various military services.
“This challenge is a very interesting opportunity to see what the Army is about,” said Hong Yin Tam, cadet battalion commander, Theodore Roosevelt High School, in Honolulu. “Being in JROTC is very rewarding. We get to learn skills to become a successful [leader].”
The objective of the CLC is to develop the students’ ability to work together as a team to accomplish a mission, build self confidence and to work cohesively with other students they have never met before.
“We also help the students develop leadership skills and then apply those to lead other cadets they meet for the first time,” said retired Lt. Col. Antoinelte Correia, director of Army Instruction, JROTC program, in Honolulu. “We expose them to a military environment to help build self confidence from working [in unfamiliar situations] to accomplish a mission.”
The students participated in modified training activities that soldiers go through such as drown proofing, the rope bridge and rappelling.
Every year, servicemembers from different branches volunteer to help supervise and conduct the training for this challenge. This is the first year the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade provided support to the program.
“We provided Combat Life Savers, Dining Facility support, and soldiers to supervise and conduct the rappelling training the students participated in,” said Staff Sgt. Ronnie Williams, S3 operations non-commissioned officer-in-charge, Headquarters Support Company, 209th Aviation Support Battalion, “Lobos,” 25th CAB. “The training the students are doing out here is great. It allows them to get hands on to some of the training the Army does and they get to talk to soldiers who can answer some of their questions.”
In addition to the CAB providing support, 25th Infantry Division and Marines volunteered to conduct some lanes of the challenge.
“The Army sponsored and provided the resources for this event,” said Correia. “The Army is not here to recruit the cadets, they are here to help the children learn and strengthen the skills they will need later.”