The Coast Guard Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) is creating a pathway to attract more young people to join the service and foster excellence. Thousands of students have participated in the Coast Guard JROTC program. This year three students from Camden High School in Camden, N.C., received appointments to the Coast Guard Academy (CGA).
“This is a truly remarkable number of CGA admissions from this size of a school!” said Cmdr. Clay Cromer, Coast Guard JROTC program manager. “Major hats off to Master Chief [Lyn] Dupree for his mentoring and leadership development.”
Cromer presented the students with their academy acceptance certificates—two for regular admission and one for admission to the CGA Scholars program, one year of prep school before attending CGA—at the school’s annual Spring Salute. The event both showcases the JROTC corps of cadets and honors distinguished guests with approximately 500 people attending.
Dupree is Camden High School’s Coast Guard JROTC instructor. He was selected not only as the Teacher of the Year for Camden County High School, but as the Teacher of the Year for the entire district. Dupree reflects the caliber of instructors the Coast Guard JROTC program has and what has made it such a success, helping it to achieve its mission of Developing Service-Minded Citizens of Character.
When asked what he hoped to instill in his students, Dupree said, “I expect my students to create a step-by-step plan to make their dreams a reality. Additionally, I want our students to develop a strong inner confidence that allows them to believe in themselves. This will allow them to achieve the goals that they set for themselves.”
Dupree, who has described his role as a JROTC instructor as “the job of a lifetime,” is very optimistic about the future of the program. He is excited to see that a significant percentage of the students actually go on to active duty service, many of whom receive a full scholarship and attend the Coast Guard Academy, while others enlist in the Coast Guard.
Cadence Langton is one of the students who received her CGA appointment and is eagerly looking forward to attending the Academy.
“I first joined the JROTC just to see if I liked it,” said Langton. “My dad is currently still in the Coast Guard, so I wanted to see if I thought I would enjoy something like that. I was drawn to the academy because I’ve always wanted to move around and travel. Being that my family has been stationed in Alaska, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and North Carolina, I wanted to continue to see new parts of the country and I felt that the academy could provide me with that opportunity. I was drawn specifically to the Coast Guard Academy because I wanted to keep the Coast Guard going in my family, and hopefully start a ‘legacy.’”
There are currently about 325 cadets in the Coast Guard JROTC program across four schools. As of the beginning of 2022, more than 750 cadets have graduated from the Coast Guard JROTC program from the two legacy units located at Camden County High School and the Maritime Science Technology (MAST) Academy in Miami. The Coast Guard will start two new units this fall, bringing the total number nationwide to six.
It was only 30 short years ago that the Coast Guard piloted its first program as a result of congressional legislation. The Army has had a JROTC for over 100 years, and the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force have had programs since the 1960s.
“I think it’s great to see the way the Coast Guard’s JROTC program is growing and there is so much interest among youth, as evidenced by those at Camden County High School who participated in the Spring Salute,” said Cromer. “This is an encouraging sign, both for the future of our nation and the future of the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard JROTC program is developing individuals that are truly committed and well-prepared to serve their country.”
In the News:
Coast Guard will launch 2 new Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps units in Fall 2022