The Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps(MCJROTC) is a composite of the lessons learned throughout the JROTC programs of the past. The modern JROTC program capitalizes on its mission to provide a course of leadership education designed to develop informed citizens, strengthening character by the teaching of discipline, and developing the understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship. There are (as of June 2006) 260 MCJROTC units across the nation and world.[1]

Marine Corps JROTC emblem.



The Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), like its senior ROTC came into being with the signing of the National Defense Act. F. Edward Hebert signed it first and Jesuit High School New Orleans was the first school to have an MCJROTC and is also the only one to have an MCJROTC band. The act authorized high schools the loan of federal military equipment and the assignment of active or retired military personnel as instructors on the condition that they followed a prescribed course of training. At its inception, the JROTC course consisted of a minimum of three hours of military tg per week for a period of three years. Any JROTC graduate who completed this course of military instruction was authorized a certificate of eligibility for a reserve commission to be honored at age 21. This provision was phased out after World War I as the need for reserve officers dwindled. Unfortunately, when the United States entered World War I, few resources were available for the JROTC. Between 1916 and 1919, the War Department established only 30 JROTC units. The two decades following World War II were austere times for JROTC. Due to funding and manpower constraints, the Army froze JROTC growth. This resulted in a boom for the National Defense Cadet Corps (NDCC), which did not rely on federal funding. As schools on the waiting list for JROTC programs realized that they would not be allowed a unit, they turned to the NDCC program to fill the void. Seventy-five NDCC units were established and by 1963 there totaled 109 units nationwide.[1]

MCJROTC Creation[]

On October 13, 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed Public Law 88-647, the ROTC Vitalization Act of 1964. It required the services to increase the number of JROTC units and to achieve a more homogeneous geographical distribution of units across the nation. Of the 1,200 units authorized, 275 were allocated to the Secretary of the Air Force, 650 to the Secretary of the Army, and 275 to the Secretary of the Navy, of which 52 were made available to the Marine Corps.[1]

On July 14, 1974, Congress further expanded the JROTC program to a maximum of 1,600 units, of which the Marine Corps received 30. Due to the lack of funding, actual establishment of new units was limited to only 20 by 1980.[1]


The most recent expansion of the JROTC program occurred on August 24, 1992, when Congress expanded the program to 3,500 units, resulting in the Marine Corps reaching a total allocation of 260 units. This dramatic raise was a direct result of General Colin Powell successfully lobbying for the expansion as a result of two significant events; the recent Los Angeles riots and the victory in Operation Desert Storm. General Powell believed that the riots underscored the lack of opportunities for teenagers in economically disadvantaged areas and, since the American people were once again proud of their American military, he wanted to ride the momentum to help high school youth, particularly those in troubled inner cities. Currently the JROTC program is awaiting another expansion.[1]


There are six major goals of the MCJROTC:[2]

Rahway High School Marine Corps JROTC Devil Pups Drill Team.

  • The program aims at developing informed and responsible citizens. The more you learn in the MCJROTC, the more likely you are to be able to function effectively in a career in the community and in family life.
  • MCJROTC helps build character. Cadets learn about ethics, leadership, followership, desirable traits, and self-discipline. If they do well in the MCJROTC, they will be likely to succeed in leadership roles later-in life.
  • The program is designed to teach Cadets about the elements and requirements for national security. If they master this knowledge, they will be better equipped to make informed and intelligent decisions. Vital issues will face them and their community, state, and nation in the future. National security requirements should not be subject to the emotions or uninformed judgements of citizens. They must become knowledgeable concerning current events and issues which have a direct effect on our nation and, in turn, us.
  • MCJROTC is a program in which discipline is stressed. A good leader is one who has self-control and will remain calm and competent in difficult situations. Thus, self-discipline is required.
  • Respect for authority is of the utmost importance in any organization and in life, in general. Cadets must learn to respect theirs peers, superiors, and subordinates. Lack of respect breeds unrest and dissatisfaction. The MCJROTC will give Cadets the experience in recognizing authority and gaining the respect of others.
  • MCJROTC purports to enlighten Cadets to possible career and educational choices.


Color Guard[]

A Marine Corps JROTC unit’s Color Guard is often a very active representative of the unit at public events. Whether it’s presenting the American Flag at high school basketball or football games, National Honor Society events, or school board meetings, the MCJROTC Color Guard stands ready to serve its host school. In the community, MCJROTC Color Guards perform at parades, ceremonies, and sporting events. Several Color Guard units have performed at professional sporting events, including Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and Major League Soccer (MLS).[3]

Drill Team[]

Marine Corps Junior ROTC Cadets across the nation dedicate countless hours to the close-order drill. It is written into the MCJROTC curriculum as a means of instilling discipline and esprit de corps, and continues to be one of the finest methods for developing confidence and leadership abilities of Cadets. Being in drill requires lots of practice and dedication, and it pays off when cadets come home after a competition and see all the trophies they won. Also, being in drill helps you rank up much higher much faster than all the other cadets. Units compete at local, state, regional and national Drill Team competitions throughout the year. There are a few different types of Drill. Exhibition is rifle spinning. Cadets are usually in teams of two or four or could be individual. They spin full size, 9.5 pound rifles and do as many impressive spins as they can without dropping the rifle. There is such thing as unarmed exhibition, but it is rare, and involves cadets clapping and slapping their legs and arms and stomping on the ground. Unarmed drill teams are 9 or 12 cadet platoons who go through the various drill movements without rifles. Armed drill is the same thing, just with rifles. While fostering a friendly and entertaining environment, these competitions provide MCJROTC Cadets an opportunity to showcase their hours of dedication and tremendous marching skills. Marine Corps JROTC units continue to enjoy success at the annual National High School Drill Team Championships in Daytona Beach, FL.[3]

Field Trips[]

Marine Corps Junior ROTC units are provided an opportunity to conduct field trips on a biennial basis. These trips enable MCJROTC instructors to take their lesson plans outside of the classroom and apply them to authentic situations. Cadets are presented with leadership challenges and mentored by their instructors throughout the learning experience. At the same time, Cadets gain a unique perspective of today’s military by conducting a variety of team building and confidence strengthening events. Field trips continue to be a very popular part of the MCJROTC curriculum.[3]


Marine Corps Junior ROTC cadets with Daisy 853 CM air rifles.

Marksmanship is an integral part of the MCJROTC curriculum. With an emphasis on safety, the MCJROTC Marksmanship curriculum allows cadets to develop pride and a sense of accomplishment as they become more proficient with their marksmanship skills. Cadets will shoot the Daisy 853CM, an air rifle specifically designed exclusively for MCJROTC. Cadets will qualify and compete using the Three-Position Air Rifle Shooting standards. Three-Position Air Rifle Shooting is the most popular and fastest growing form of shooting sports competition for youth of high school age or younger. Two different Three-Position Air Rifle events are available. Precision Air Rifle is modeled after Olympic-style shooting and allows the use of specialized target rifles and equipment. Sporter Air Rifle is designed for new competitors or those who desire to compete with a minimum of equipment and expense. In both types of shooting, competitors fire at targets at a distance of 10 meters in three different positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Sporter and precision air rifle classes may also be combined into one “open” class. Three-Position Air Rifle provides young competitors with competitive shooting sports opportunities that can be offered on a wide variety of easily accessible or easily constructed ranges, with equipment that is commonly available at affordable costs.[3]

Marine Corps JROTC Units are afforded the opportunity to participate in marksmanship competitions sponsored by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).

 Cadet Officer Ranks[]

Title Insignia
2nd Lieutenant



1st Lieutenant






Major 2.jpg
Lieutenant Colonel





Brigader General

Brigader General is the absolute highest rank a cadet may earn in MCJROTC. It is above all other ranks and only one cadet per region is allowed to carry this title. As of December 2012 it seems there is only one cadet Brigader General in a Chicago MCJROTC unit. 


Cadet Enlisted/ NCO Ranks

Title Insignia


cadet Lance Corporal


cadet Corporal


cadet Sergeant


cadet Staff Sergeant


cadet Gunnery Sergeant


cadet First Sergeant


cadet Segeant Major




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Marine Corps JROTC - History
  2. US Marine Corps JROTC, Global Security Org", Retrieved September 5, 2008
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 MCJROTC Student Activities, MCJROTC Homepage, Retrieved September 5, 2008

External links[]

Marine Corps JROTC Homepage