The Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, also known as JROTC, is a federal program sponsored by the United States Armed Forces in high schools across the United States. We're connecting you to Albany's Marine Corps Logistics Base who works with area high school students who are striving for a future in serving our country. Marine and Army JROTC cadets in a Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test at the Marine Corps Logistics Base earlier in the month.
This is not just a pastime for these young cadets it's becoming a way of life. It's their perseverance to be the best they can be through the pain, despite the heat and increasing fatigue making each one of them a leader. 17-year-old Kristen Journey says, "I've actually seen myself become more involved and it makes me want to participate."
At 17, Journey looks back at the progress she's made. This high school senior tells FOX 31 the JROTC is not as hard or as scary as people make it out to be. In fact, it's a program everyone could benefit from. "When I got it, I said what's the point in having an attitude and it taught me to do better. Once I started getting involved in the program I was like this is something i really love to do. So I feel like I've matured a lot since that," says Journey.
The temperature is on the rise and what you see on this hot June afternoon is exactly what these young men and women of the JROTC, both marine and army, have trained for throughout the school year. As each one has gained individual strength, Master Sergeant Mark Caraballo explains it's how they've become a unit that's impressive.
"Try to tie in the team building aspect of that. Pushing each other and building self-confidence, just helping each other get through things. They think they might not be able to get through and they see other folks doing it, it helps them dig a little deeper and push through," says Master Sergeant Carabello High school senior, Charles Kinmamon says, "We try to keep up with the army so we're not kind of less but a lot of times we do have to be because we're kids. We're not up to par with some of these adults because they're a lot stronger."
But it's those adults that are motivating and encouraging not only Kinmamon but all the young adults striving to be the next Master Sergeant or Sergeant Major. "I could save lives because I've learned CPR, I can lead a group into combat or to wherever and to whatever job I do whether it's in the Army or Marine Corps, it will really help me through college also. I'll have that dedication and ability to be dedicated to my work," says Kinnmamon.
At the end of the day these cadets are students. Whether or not they pound the pavement to cross the finish line first or do more sit ups than their fellow cadets, according to Sergeant Major Stephen Martin the work begins and ends in the classroom. "Our main thing is I want to get them to school, I want to get them into the classroom and then I want to build a team environment with them. My classroom is one of those classrooms that everybody is safe when they enter that classroom. We're all trying to look out for each other," says Sergeant Major Martin.