News: JROTC cadets take part in military training day at Homestead ARB
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Alex Licea
HOMESTEAD, Fla. - More than 100 Army and Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from two Homestead-area schools participated in a military training day here, April 17.
JROTC cadets from Homestead and South Dade High Schools participated in realistic military training as part of a daylong event hosted by servicemembers assigned to Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH).
The event is part of SOCSOUTH’s ongoing mentorship program called the Special Operations Command Military Assistance Program or SOCMAP. The program was established in an effort to strengthen ties between SOCSOUTH and high school students across the Homestead area.
“Today's event was meant to reinforce the JROTC goal of “motivating young people to be better citizens” by providing professionally administered military events that are safe, fun, interesting, and challenging to the cadets from South Dade and Homestead High Schools,” said Army Chief Warrant Officer Brain Masterson, the command chief warrant officer for SOCSOUTH. “This event helps further the development of a bond between our military personnel and the students and faculty of the participating high schools, which has a positive impact on everyone involved in the program."
During the event, the cadets participated in several military stations such as rappelling from a 50-foot tower, a series of physical training activities, military communications familiarization and the opportunity to wear a military parachute.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Reginald Murray, retired, who is a JROTC instructor at South Dade High School, said he appreciated the opportunity to have his students partake in these events on a real military installation with military members. He also said that events like this will leave a lasting impression on his students.
“This type of event really shows our cadets the types of opportunities they have and that with hard work you can achieve anything,” said Murray. “They also learn a new sense of appreciation for the men and women in the military, and I can tell you these guys [servicemembers] are really making a difference in these cadets’ lives and setting a good example on what it is to be a productive citizen.”
Murray added that the South Dade JROTC program has more than 400 students from grades 9-12. In order for the cadets to take part in events like this, they must maintain a good grade-point average in all of their classes. The program also encourages all its members to strive to achieve their dreams and pursue higher education.
For 16-year-old Kevin Ferrera, who attends South Dade high school and wants to study music, this event was a refreshing break from the classroom.
“This was a really great day and I had a lot of fun doing all these military exercises,” he said. “I really appreciate what the military does for our country.”
Masterson, along with other members of the command, understands how helping to develop tomorrow’s leaders through positive role models and mentorship.
“Let's be clear that the faculty, staff, and JROTC cadre from both schools are developing these young people for the future, and I would add that there are no finer people than those who commit their lives to the education of our children,” he said. “Our goal with this event today is to assist them by providing additional positive role models and by offering our time, knowledge, and experience."
Members of SOCSOUTH hope to continue their work in the community and with programs such as SOCMAP which has helped establish the command’s ongoing commitment to the community.
“Numerous members of this command dedicate countless hours during their spare time in volunteering as coaches in youth sports and helping those in need,” said Masterson. SOCMAP enables us to build the outreach program in the local community so we can impact as many young people as possible."