JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
Aiding one’s nation is not reflected solely through military service. Rather, one can be of service simply by becoming productive members of their community and helping out whenever possible.
Recognizing this, the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps has made its mission to develop high school students into citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community.
Dr. Henry A. Wise High School, the zoned public school where JBA members can send their children, has its own Air Force Junior ROTC program children can utilize and benefit from.
The Air Force Junior ROTC trains its cadets by promoting community service, instilling responsibility, character, and self-discipline; meanwhile providing instruction in air and space fundamentals.
Kevin Craddock, Wise high school student and son of Tech. Sgt. William Craddock, 11th Civil Engineer Squadron section chief, said the program has helped him grow as an individual while also reaffirming his goal of becoming a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
“I’ve learned how to step up and become more of a leader than I ever thought I could be,” Craddock said. “During my three years in the program, I’ve learned how to communicate better, how to delegate and also how to lead by example.”
All Air Force Junior ROTC instructors are retired Air Force commissioned and non-commissioned officers. They are full-time faculty members of their local school board to teach Air Force Junior ROTC classes.
“This program puts me in an environment where I can use my experience to provide kids with mentorship, insight and direction,” said retired Chief Master Sgt. James Nickerson, Wise high school aerospace science and Air Force Junior ROTC instructor.
The program features coursework in U.S. history, civics, health and wellness, language arts, leadership and life skills.
In addition to teaching drill and ceremony and aviation history, instructors also show cadets how to write resumes and conduct interviews.
“We try to identify what career path our students want to be on, whether it’s college, vocational school or something else, and help them attain it,” Nickerson added.
Although students are not obligated to join the military after graduating from high school, Air Force Junior ROTC instructors are able to assist those who are looking to pursue a military career.
With just one more year of high school left, Craddock noted how helpful his instructors have been in assisting him toward his goal.
“They gave me all the information I needed,” he said. “They let me know when the deadlines were, things I needed before I could apply, and they keep me on track. They also put me in touch with someone who had gone through the process and is at the academy now.”
Air Force Junior ROTC aims to provide an environment for students to grow and become productive community members. For more information about how to get involved in the Wise high school Air Force Junior ROTC program, contact Chief Master Sgt. James Nickerson at 301-780-2100.