Military Ball marks 100th year for JROTC program


The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program began with a simple mission 100 years ago. That is to provide students the opportunity to receive military instruction from military personnel, according to Saipan Southern High School JROTC instructor CSM Richard Basa.

Basa addressed five battalions from the CNMI Public School System at the 24th Annual Military Ball at Saipan World Resort’s Taga Ball Room last Saturday. Cadets and instructors from Marianas High School, Kagman High School, Saipan Southern High School, Tinian Jr./Sr. High School, Dr. Rita Hocog Inos Jr./Sr. High School were in attendance.

In his remarks, Basa ruminated on the past successes of the program and noted that a number of its many purposes is to teach leadership, citizenship, self-discipline, team work, and service to the community.

“JROTC has now evolved into a massive nationwide collaboration,” he told Saipan Tribune. “It is a very successful program.”

Currently, there are 1,731 JROTC programs, 314,000 cadets, and 4,000 instructors nationwide.

Each of the public high school battalions presented their accomplishments and events during the event as well.

In his keynote speech, First Sergeant David O’Dea inspired the cadets to remain motivated in their endeavors. Associate Commissioner of Student Support Services Yvonne Pangelinan urged the cadets to take the pledge under “Mission 22” in support of veterans who suffer from PTSD.

Education Commissioner Dr. Rita Sablan expressed her gratitude toward those involved in the program and lauded them for their hard work. She added that the celebration of “Heroes to Teachers Week” takes place from May 16 to 20, 2016.

Over 30 senior cadets were also recognized for their involvement and their plans after high school graduation were announced.

As one of 11 Gates Millennium Scholars this year from the CNMI, Tinian student and JROTC cadet captain Odorico San Nicolas said, “ JROTC has been an impact on my education because it allowed me to hone in on my ability to be an effective leader. The JROTC Program has been a great influence on my life because it has just been a continuous window of opportunity.”

He added, “The amount of service that cadets in the program provide is endless. The connections that you gain and the experiences that come with being an active cadet in the program, such as Military Ball, teach cadets things that you do not learn in a regular classroom.”

All cadets, instructors, VIPs, and guests takes a picture with “22” as the background to show support towards veterans who suffer from PTSD. (Contributed Photo)

From left, Education Commissioner Dr. Rita Sablan, SFC Susie Acfalle, SGM Joaquin Kiyoshi, 1SG Jose King, CSM Richard Basa, MAJ Merle Hoskins, MSG James Burke, SFC Anthony Crolla, 1SG David O’Dea, and Mrs. Yvonne Pangelinan pose together for a group photo. (Contributed Photo)

The presentation of cadets that are seniors of the graduating class of 2016. (Contributed Photo)

Thomas Manglona II | Correspondent

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